February 2, 2018

You Can't Run, and You Can't Hide

Romans 2:6–16

David Green
Friday's Devo

February 2, 2018

Friday's Devo

February 2, 2018

Central Truth

No amount of status, privilege, ignorance, or self-righteousness will protect us from the wrath and fury of a righteous and sovereign King against whom we have willfully rebelled. We can't begin to comprehend how good the Good News is until we realize just how bad the bad news is.

Romans 2:6–16

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking 1 2:8 Or contentious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

God's Judgment and the Law

12 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. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 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.


[1] 2:8 Or contentious

Dive Deeper | Romans 2:6–16

Paul spent the last half of Romans 1 describing how "they" aren't right with God. Then he lowers the boom on his self-righteous audience in Romans 2:1-5 to show that "you" are hypocrites because "you, the judge, practice the very same things" (Romans 2:1). Paul has skillfully stripped away the arrogant superiority that characterized his mostly Jewish audience. The playing field has been leveled, and there is nobody left to whom they can favorably compare themselves by claiming privileged status as God's chosen people. "There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, . . . but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good . . . ." (Romans 2:9-10) God's justice is administered without discrimination or preference.

But Paul knows that self-righteousness won't die easily. In verses 12-16, he cleverly anticipates and disarms their excuses of "I didn't know" and "I'm not that bad."

First, nobody can claim ignorance—neither the Jew who has the Law, which was written on stone tablets at Mt. Sinai, nor all others who have the law written on their heart.

And second, "it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified" (verse 13, emphasis added). In the Book of James, James clarifies just how much of the law must be kept to be right with God: "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it." (James 2:10) And Paul shows that "all of it" also includes "the secrets of men" (Romans 2:16). Jesus got even more specific in the Sermon on the Mount when He said that inward thoughts of lust and hatred violate the law just as much as the outward acts of adultery and murder (see Matthew 5).

So you stand before God alone, guilty, and pitifully inadequate to defend yourself against the wrath and fury of an unimaginably powerful God against whom you've willingly and knowingly rebelled. Me, too. Now I begin to understand just how bad the bad news really is.

This month's memory verse

Peace with God Through Faith

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

– Romans 5:1

Discussion Questions

1. To whom do you compare yourself so that you feel less guilty?

2. Why did you skip over the previous question so quickly? Go back and answer it honestly this time.

3. In Luke 16, Jesus tells the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. How parched does someone have to be to beg for a drop of water to relieve his anguish?

4. Now, using that imagery, how parched are you? How aware do you have to be of your own inability to be right with God before you will beg for just a drop of Good News?