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Jewels from Romans #10

Romans 6:1-5

1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
(ESV)

In Romans 6:1-5, Paul describes the relationship which exists between the believer and sin. The believer is dead to sin. Before we were converted, we were dead in our trespasses and sins. Ephesians 2:1-3 says “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (ESV) But when we became alive in Jesus Christ, we became dead to our sin. When Jesus Christ was crucified, our old self was crucified along with Him. And when Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, our new self was raised along with Him.

But I hear an objection to this idea. And that objection is coming from me. I don’t feel like I am dead to sin. I feel like sin is still alive and well within me. There is not a day which goes past during which I do not sin multiple times over. Does that mean that I am not a Christian since I struggle so with sin? No, that is not the case, because, if it were true, then there would be no Christians. I am not the only Christian who struggles with sin. The key to gain a better understanding is in Romans 6:2 “How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (ESV) The Christian no longer lives in sin. That does not preclude the Christian from sinning on occasion, but it does preclude a Christian who still lives in sin. The Apostle John put it this way in 1 John 2:1 “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (ESV) And again in 1 John 3:6 “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” (ESV)

Therefore, belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ not only imputes righteousness, it also gives the power to live a life of righteousness. In Romans 6:4 we read “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (ESV) This is not talking about what we will be like after we are resurrected. This is talking about a here-and-now fact of life of being a Christian. Here are a couple of more passages from the Apostle Paul, which speak to this idea of walking in the newness of life.

Ephesians 4:20-24

20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—
21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,
22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
(ESV)

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (ESV)

So, then, if I am indeed dead to sin, and if I indeed have been raised to walk in newness of life, why do I still struggle with sin so much? Paul is going to answer this question for us in detail in Romans 7:7-25. Here is an excerpt from this passage:

Romans 7:14-20

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.
15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.
17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me
. (ESV)

No, I admit that I may be way off base in the next comment, but I’m going to write it anyway. I may be dead to sin, but my sin is not dead to me. As long as I live in this body of flesh, sin still wants to have control over this corrupted body. Therefore, there is a constant struggle, a constant war, going on between my new self and the sin which wants to gain control over my old body which I am still dragging around. After all, my old body used to belong to sin – it was rightfully the possession of sin. Sin wants nothing more than to regain control over what used to be its rightful possession.

By Berean Husband

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Jewels from Romans #9

Romans 4:4-5

4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
5 And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness
(ESV)

Thought #1: It is an affront to God to try to pay in any way for the grace which He has extended. If you want to pay at all, you must pay the full price. Let’s suppose you have a friend who is an artist. He makes his living by selling paintings at a local art show. And let’s say that your friend is quite good, and most of his paintings sell for several thousand dollars each. One day you visit with your friend at the art show and he – out of the blue – takes one of his paintings off of its stand and gives it to you as a gift. Do you offer to pay him $20 for the painting? No, of course not. Offering an artist $20 for a work of art worth $2000 is a slap in face. In the same way, anything you offer to God in attempt to pay for his free gift of grace is a slap in God’s face. What could you possibly begin to pay that would match the value of the grace of God? In the words of Isaac Watts from the hymn “When I survey the Wondrous Cross”:

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

And just so we know, what would be the full price to pay for what God offers to us freely? Read a couple of verses and you will get the idea:

Matthew 5:20 “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (ESV)

Matthew 5:48 “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (ESV)

James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” (ESV)

There is a Biblical precedent for this idea. Do you remember the story of Simon the Sorcerer from Acts chapter 8. When he saw the gift of the Holy Spirit being given through the work of the Apostles, he offered them money to be able to do the same. Here is the exchange between Simon the Sorcerer and Simon Peter the Apostle from Acts 8:18-21:

18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,
19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.
(ESV)

Thought #2: Here is a related but kind of different thought. It is also an affront to God to think that He extends grace as a payment for our good works. Consider the parable of the workers in the vineyard found in Matthew 20:1-16:

1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
4 and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’
5 So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same.
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’
9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.
10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius.
11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house,
12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’
13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?
14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you.
15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’
16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”
(ESV)

Did the workers hired for the last hour of the day deserve a denarius, full payment for working an entire day? No, of course not. It was the grace of the owner of the vineyard that they received pay for a full day’s work. But there is something more to see than that. It was also grace that they were hired to work at all. Likewise for the laborers who were hired first thing in the morning. The fact that they were given a job at all was all by the grace of the owner of the vineyard. So it is for those who are part of God’s kingdom. Some have been laboring hard for God for years. But what they will receive is just as much from grace as the person who repents on their deathbed. No one is ever paid eternal life, it is a free gift. Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (ESV) And Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (ESV) No one in heaven will be talking about what they did to earn their salvation.

By Berean Husband

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Jewels from Romans #8

Romans 2:17-24

17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God
18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law;
19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,
20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—
21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?
22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.
24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
(ESV)

I found a picture of myself as I was reading through the book of Romans this morning. I found a picture of myself and it was not a pretty picture at all. I found a picture of myself which Paul painted with the words of his pen in Romans 2:17-24, as quoted above. Paul used two colors to paint a picture of me in these verses: pride and hypocrisy. Let me describe to you what I found in my own words.

First, consider the description of pride which resides in me that I found in verses 17-20:

But if you call yourself a Jew…” I may not be a Jew, but my pride tells me that I am chosen by God and that makes me better than other people.

“…and rely on the law…” In my pride, I consider myself better than other people because I don’t do certain things. Or, at least I say I don’t do certain things. Or I don’t do certain things when other people are watching.

“…and boast in God…” In my pride, I brag and boast about my relationship to God and look with disdain on those who do not have the same relationship as me.

“…and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law…” In my pride, I think that I have everything figured out, that God has given to me alone the full counsel of His knowledge and will.

“…and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children…” In my pride, I think that I have insight that other people would be privileged to know. That it why I write these blogs. I write because I desire some type of recognition that I have these profound things to say.

“…having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth…” Here is the ugliest picture of my pride of all. My eyes fixated on the word “embodiment.” Surely that describes me. If you want to see what it means to have knowledge and possess truth, you need look no farther than me. What a joke!

But are any of these things true? No, they are all lies which my pride whispers in my ear. And when I listen to what pride whispers, it inevitably leads to hypocrisy. Consider the description of the hypocrisy which my pride leads me to in verses 21-23:

You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?” How many times have I stood up in front of people and told them to study their Bibles, to pray, to serve others, to set aside their own desires, and then do none of these things myself?

While you preach against stealing, do you steal?” How many times have I told people that it is wrong to take things that are not yours, and then turn around and steal other people’s ideas or their character by my words?

You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?” How many times have I preached about the need for complete faithfulness in marriage while at the exact same time lusted after a woman who was not my wife?

You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?” How many times have I said that God is the only one and true God and then worshipped at the altar of myself through hedonism and materialism?

You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.” How many times have I proclaimed that the commandments of God are good and then turned right around and broken those commandments?

So what is the impact of my pride and hypocrisy? Does it affect only me? Verse 24 answers this question in the most terrible way. “For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (ESV) People see me for who I really am, a man full of hypocrisy and pride. And when they see me thus, they have every right to spit in the face of God because the testimony of my true actions contradicts everything I claim about God.

By Berean Husband

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Jewels from Romans #7

Romans 3:10-18

10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes
.” (ESV)

How is it that Paul can say that no one seeks for God? I think first we must realize the context. No one seeks after God of their own free will. When we look around, we think we see many people seeking after God. We see them gazing into crystals, chanting, bowing down in front of gold idols. This is not seeking after God. This is seeking after spirituality. There is a difference.

French mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) is quoted as saying “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” Many people assume that this quote means that people are continually seeking to fill this “vacuum” by searching for God. The truth is, people are seeking to fill this vacuum with anything and everything except God. But the problem is that Blaise Pascal never said this quote. It is someone’s paraphrase of much more insightful quote which Pascal did say:

“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself”

What Pascal was saying is that man lost the only source of true happiness in the fall of Adam, and there is nothing but an emptiness left where there once was eternal bliss. Now man attempts to fill this emptiness from what is around him, but finds nothing that is of any help in the here and now, because the only solution is an infinite and unchangeable God.

So, if no man seeks after God, why do we have seeker-friendly church services? Good question. What we find in the Bible is that it is not man who seeks after God, it is God who seeks after man. What I consider to be the key verse of the book of Luke says “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 ESV) God knows that nobody will seek after Him, that is why He sent His Son to find those of His sheep that are lost and return them to their proper place in the fold (see Luke 15:1-7).

There are other passages in the Bible which make this point in different ways. In the book of John, God is pictured as one who must take an active role in drawing men unto Himself. No one seeks after God unless God Himself draws that individual unto Himself. Jesus tells us in John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” (ESV) The book of Romans, the book of Luke, and the book of John are in complete agreement on this matter. No one has either the desire or the ability to seek after God unless and until God Himself purposes to draw that individual unto Himself.

And how is an individual drawn to God? Jesus says in John 12:32 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (ESV) This is a reference to the crucifixion of Jesus. The method God uses to call out a people unto Himself is through the death of His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus tells Nicodemus the same thing in John 3:14-15 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (ESV) I like to think that this also has a fulfillment in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we lift up Jesus for all men to see in our proclamation of the gospel message, we are giving an opportunity for all men to see Jesus lifted up on the cross once again. We are told in 1 Corinthians 1:21 “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” (ESV)

The death of Jesus Christ was not one option among many choices available to God to draw men unto Himself. For in order to draw men unto Himself, men first must be made acceptable to be received by God. We are told in

Romans 3:23-26

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
(ESV)

So what do we make of verses in the Bible like Revelation 22:17 “The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” (ESV) Is this truly an open invitation to all to accept the gift of eternal life? Yes it is. But this verse says “let the one who desires…” I thought no one had a desire for God within them. It seems ridiculous for God to invite the one who desires when no one desires. There is a story that is told of a gold bar that Fort Knox sent on tour one time. This gold bar was specially made, shaped with a flat bottom and rounded top edges, and weighing about 70 pounds. The challenge was to pick up the bar with one hand without sliding the bar off of the table. If you could pick it up, you could have it. Of course, no one could pick it up. Is the offer of God given in Revelation 22:17 like this Fort Knox contest? No, because it is God Himself who gives men the desire to seek him. And those whom God gives this desire will be drawn unto eternal life though the beauty of the death and resurrection of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. If today, you hear the Spirit say “Come”, and you hear the true Church saying “Come”, then do not harden your heart and remain in your rebellion against God (see Hebrews 3:15). Respond to the invitation and find that it is God who is irresistibly drawing you unto Himself.

By Berean Husband

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Jewels from Romans #6

Romans 3:10-18

10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
(ESV)

We come today to one of the classic texts which proves the total depravity of mankind. I believe that there is a misunderstanding of total depravity in the minds of many people today. Many people, when they hear the term “total depravity”, assume that it means that people are as bad and as evil as they ever could possibly be. That is not the case. You and I both know many fine, upstanding, morally good people who do not have Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Are these people totally depraved? Yes. We must understand that total depravity has nothing to do with our actions. It has everything to do with: 1) our state of righteousness, and 2) our ability to attain a state of righteousness. There is a difference between personality and righteousness. A nice person who lives apart from God and the saving grace of His Son Jesus Christ is unrighteous just as the unregenerate murderer sitting on death row. His crimes may not be as heinous in the sight of God, but his sins are serious enough to eternally separate him from God and to justify the wrath of God by being tormented by God in the Lake of Fire forever.

Many preachers and teachers, when they come to the subject of total depravity, point to the blatant and increasing sinfulness of the world at large to prove the concept of total depravity. They point to things like the increase in murder rates, robberies, greed in the corporate world, and moral failure in the church. They point to things like the prevalence of abortions and euthanasia. While all these things are a result of total depravity, they do not prove total depravity. The best proof of total depravity that I can think of is myself. People without the saving grace of Jesus Christ can be expected to sin as they are lead by their own lusts, by the world, and by Satan. What proof of that is total depravity? The depraved can be expected to be depraved. But what about a person like me, who well knows what it means to be saved from the power of sin? I still sin, knowing better, and knowing the better way. I still sin even though God in His loving kindness provides a way of escape from every temptation which comes my way (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). I still sin even though I recognize that my every sin is another hammer blow on the nails that affixed Jesus Christ to the cross at Calvary. I still sin even though my sinful flesh has been crucified with Jesus Christ (see Galatians 2:20). This, my friends, is the proof of total depravity. The person who should be most free from sin on this earth still practices sin every day.

By Berean Husband

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Jewels from Romans #5

Romans 2:14-16

14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.
15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them
16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus
. (ESV)

In Romans 2:15, Paul tells us that there are conflicting thoughts within a person. What are these conflicting thoughts? On one hand, we have a knowledge of right and wrong. Even those people who have never heard of the Law, who may have never seen the Ten Commandments, still inherently know right from wrong. That is because the work of the law is written on every person’s heart. And every person has a conscience which is constantly interpreting the law which is written on their heart. Sometimes our conscience bears witness that our actions are in conformity with the law God has placed in our heart. And sometimes our conscience convicts us when we are in violation of the law written on our hearts.

But on the other hand, we have conflicting thoughts about the pleasures of fulfilling our fleshly lusts. Just think how easy it is for a person to justify their sinful behavior in their own mind. A person might commit adultery and then be able to give you a dozen reasons why it was the right thing to do. That adultery might lead to a divorce and a remarriage, and that person who committed the adultery justifies their actions because they think they have the right to pursue happiness at all costs. Yet we know that there is a conscience at work within every person accusing them when they violate God’s moral law.

The sad thing is, even the Christian is not immune from these conflicting thoughts. No matter how much we quit being conformed to this world, no matter how much we are transformed by the renewing of our mind, there are still these conflicting thoughts at work in us. The Apostle Paul admitted as much in Romans 7:18-25

18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.
22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,
23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
(ESV)

The Apostle Paul readily admits that he continually finds himself unable to do the good which he wants to do, but finds himself doing the evil that he does not want to be doing. And then Paul puts his finger on the problem: as long as we have our current flesh, we will have sin dwelling in us. And that sin is in constant conflict with the law of God which resides in our inner being. In verse 25, Paul presents the conclusion in overcoming this law of sin which reigns in our flesh and wars against our spirit. We can never deliver ourselves. It is God who alone can overcome the sin of our flesh through the shed blood of His son Jesus Christ. This can happen in small steps each day, but will not be entirely fulfilled until we exchange our corrupted flesh for the incorruptible on the day of our resurrection from dead. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.
43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body
. (ESV)

By Berean Husband

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Jewels from Romans #4

Romans 2:3-5

3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?
4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed
. (ESV)

The unconverted person who otherwise attempts to lead a moral life is guilty of making two bad assumptions concerning the wrath and judgment of God. The first bad assumption is that the judgment of God will not come because their sins are not as bad as the wicked people whom Paul described in Romans chapter 1. The unconverted person who attempts to lead a moral life looks with disdain upon the homosexual, the idol worshipper, the murderer, and they know that God will judge these people for their sins. However, the unconverted but moral person does not know the truth of Romans 2:1 “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” (ESV) The list of sins which Paul gives us in Romans 1:29-31 is extensive enough to cover all of mankind. There is no one who has not committed at least one of these sins. The unconverted person who is attempting to lead a moral life is deluded in the belief that God will not judge their own sins in like manner to God’s judgment of the sins of the openly wicked person.

The second bad assumption the unconverted person who otherwise attempts to lead a moral life makes is that God’s patience is evidence that God will not judge them for their sins. Romans 2:4 says “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (ESV) The forbearance and patience of God in judging sin is for the purpose of allowing time for mankind to repent of their sins. However, many people interpret this forbearance as an evidence that God really doesn’t care about their sins.

Romans 3:5 says “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” (ESV) There is an excellent word picture that we can use to illustrate this verse. God’s patience is like a dam which is holding back His judgment. I used to work in the Engineering Department of a fairly large City. We would sometimes construct a dam. Water would slowly build up against that dam. For the first few months, there would be almost no standing water behind the dam. Then, as time passes, water would build up behind the dam until the lake reached full pool. One year we had a significant rain event which caused one of our lakes to overtop the dam, and as the water began to run down the dry side of the dam, the dam was eroded away and eventually failed, releasing all the water stored up to rush downstream. This is a picture of the patience of God storing up wrath against sinners for the day of judgment. More and more sins store up more and more wrath behind the dam of patience, until the day when God’s patience gives way to the flood of His judgment.

By Berean Husband

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