Lesson 4 - Romans 2:1-16 The Self-Righteous Man

In the court room of Romans 1 we have seen the first group of prisoners brought into court and tried. Now the representative man of the second group—the self-righteous moralist—appears on the scene. He listens with complacency to the sentence pronounced, in fact he takes a seat beside the Judge. Looking down from the heights of his morality he condemns the bad man. He would object strenuously to taking his place with the culprits. But listen to the voice of the Judge.

“You face the Judge, O man, whoever you are! Judging others you condemn yourself for you are guilty of the same,” see vs. 1.

We now listen to the solemn words concerning the judgment of God in vs. 2-16, and notice four things with regard to it.

1. “The Judgment Of God Is According To Truth.” vs. 2-5.

When the wrath of king Ahasuerus was upon all the Jews. Mordecai said to Esther, “Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house more than all the Jews.” Esther 4:13. For “how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation.” Heb. 2:………. That is exactly what this man does. He despises the riches of God’s goodness vs. 4. He does not fear the day of doom and refuses the grace that would lead him to repentance.

Refusing God’s goodness, he hoards up wrath against himself vs. 5. God is dispensing grace but He is treasuring up wrath. Every sin committed is a deposit in the bank of God’s wrath. In the day of reckoning the sinner will receive both principal and interest. A poor, old, colored woman when taunted with the folly of believing in a “lake of fire and brimstone” because “no such an amount of brimstone could be found in one place,” exclaimed solemnly, “Everybody takes his own brimstone wif’ him!”

Lesson 5 - Romans 2:17-24 The Jew

The last of the three representative men now appears on the scene.

He is the Religious Sinner

and prides himself in what he is, and what he knows and what he does, and we are not surprised when he puts in a plea of “not guilty.” He is no ordinary sort of person. Let us look at him. Do his pretensions have any weight with the Judge?

He prides himself in what he is for he is called a Jew vs. 1. He has a good name surely for that word “Jew” comes from “Judah” which means “praise” Gen. 29:35. But the label means nothing, for God looks at the heart. A great statesman once asked “How many legs would a donkey have if you called his tail a leg?” Educated statesmen said “five.” But you know that calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg. Tin may be labelled silver; and brass, gold; but tin will still be tin and brass will still be brass. Christened sinners, confirmed sinners and church going sinners are sinners still. No religious cloak can hide sin from the eyes of God, and every such cloak is as useless as the fig leaf aprons of our first parents in Gen. 3 vs………….

Have we not met this man before? Yes. We have seen him praying in the temple (Lk. 18:9-14) thanking God that he is not like other men. There he lays claim to superior piety, here he clings to his religious fig leaves even in the presence of the Judge. We listen to his pleas as he enumerates his virtues, but all in vain as far as being exonerated or acquitted is concerned.

He has

Five Advantages

that distinguish him from all others.

Lesson 6 - Romans 2:25-29 Circumcision

In these, the closing verses of our chapter the subject of circumcision is taken up. This was the great stronghold of the Jew. He thought himself quite safe behind this fortress. Did not circumcision originate with Abraham and was it not then before the law and Moses? Was it not given to separate Israel from all other nations, and the seal of the covenant God made with them?

The Jew put circumcision in the place of faith and love and holiness. But there are some today who put baptism and the Lord’s Supper and good works in the place of real conversion to God. Therefore this lesson is an important one for our own day. The Jew is pursued into this hiding place and ferreted out, stripped of the last thread of his self-righteousness.

Four great arguments are advanced.

1. Circumcision Avails Nothing If You Are A Law-Breaker. Vs. 25.

The Jew attached saving value to circumcision. One of their Rabbis said, “Circumcision is equivalent to all the commandments of the law.” Here we learn that circumcision put one under obligation to keep all the commandments of the law. Circumcision was but one link in the chain of ordinances and commandments. If one link is broken the whole chain is useless. One might as well have no chain at all. “Thy circumcision is made uncircumcision” by the transgression of the law.

Lesson 7 - Romans 3:1-8 The Matter Taken Up

In Lesson Six we saw that the special pleadings of the religious sinner were rejected, and that he was found to be even more guilty than the others.

We now attend the final session of the court. The evidences will be brought in, the voice of the law heard and the Judge’s verdict given. Before the case is dosed however, objections are raised in chapter 3:1-5. It is as if some one, roused by the failure of the Jew to put across his pleas of exemption from punishment, rises to his feet. Resenting the blow dealt to Jewish pride he is ready to take the place of a clever lawyer in their defence. He has three great arguments and these he presents in the form of questions. He must be silenced and his arguments must be met before the case is settled.

The first argument is a question of privilege vs. 1. Surely the Jew has some advantage, says this disputant. There must be some profit in having ordinances. You will certainly acknowledge that.

The Answer, vs. 2. Indeed the Jew has advantages. The greatest of all these advantages is that he possesses the Word of God. There is no greater privilege than that.

The second argument is one regarding God’s faithfulness vs. 3. The oracles committed to Israel contain promises to them. Now what if some Jews did not believe—God must do as He promised and does not that promise hold good for all Israelites? Was it not given to the nation as a whole? Will His faith (that is His plighted word) become mere empty sounds because of man’s sin?

Lesson 8 - Romans 3:9-20 What Man Is

Now that all objections have been met and Jew and Gentile stand condemned before the bar of God the final verdict is given. We have the statement of the court’s findings in this case against man, wherein the entire human race is convicted and found guilty.

(1) The Case against man is “proved” vs 9. Now that all the world has been at the trial, what is the result? Has it been proved that the Jew is better than the Gentile—the religious sinner more excusable than the immoral? No, in no wise. It has been proved that all are under sin. The weight of sin is upon all. This is a proven fact. There is no appeal from this for it is a “Supreme Court Decision.”

(2) The Case against man is summarized, 10-18 The voice of the law is heard for the voices of self-defense and self- assertion are silenced at last. Passage after passage from the Old Testament are marshalled to bear witness against both Jew and Gentile. From the Psalms, from the Proverbs and from Isaiah come the charges, each quotation adding a bit of drab to the dark picture of man.

Lesson 9 - Romans 3:21-5:21 Salvation

We now begin the study of the second great division of Romans. The subject of this portion of the book is Justification. We have already seen how all are under Condemnation. Now we will read of God’s wonderful salvation. A salvation that places the sinner, sheltered by the blood of Jesus, beyond condemnation.

This theme is divided into three simple parts

1. The Source of Justification—Ch. 3:21-31

2. The Subjects of Justification—Ch. 4

3. The Blessings of Justification—Ch. 5.

We will notice the lesser divisions as we go but these give us a general view of the new section of the book through which we are travelling together.

We have already learned that all are under sin and all need salvation. We learn now that God not only saves the sinner but that He is doing the right thing when He does it. It would be the wrong thing for any other judge to clear the guilty. Surely it will be interesting to learn how God can be Just and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

The dreadful word “Guilty” is still ringing in our ears. The law has spoken, having pronounced condemnation upon all, it can say no more. It stands stern and silent beside the trembling sinner. It cannot allay his just fears, nor clear his debts. It can only point solemnly to the horror of sin and its dread consequences.

Lesson 11—Romans 3:21-31 (Cont'd.) God the Justifier

5. God’s Righteousness is Obtained By Faith (22)

The sinner who believes God and takes Him at His word is clothed with God’s righteousness.

Faith is a very simple thing
Though little understood
It frees the soul from death’s dread sting
By resting on the blood
Faith is not what we see or feel;
It is a simple trust
In what the God of love has said
Of Jesus as the Just.

It is “unto all” that God offers this salvation, but it is only “upon all them that believe.” The sinner who does not believe is still in his sins and under the wrath of God.

6. God’s Righteousness is Offered to All (22, 23)

It is upon “all” who believe because there is no difference—no distinction for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It makes very little difference whether one is in the depths of a mine or on the top of a mountain as far as reaching the stars is concerned. All alike need salvation and it is offered to all and all who believe have it. The wonder is that so few possess it and rejoice in it.

7. God’s Righteousness is the gift of His Grace—vs. 24.

Of course guilty sinners should be punished for their sins nor would it be right if God passed them by, but Christ suffered in our stead. He took our guilt upon Himself and died for us. Now then we are “justified freely by His grace.” The word translated “freely” here is really “gratuitously.” It is translated “without a cause” in John 15:25 and this is very simply its meaning. Men hated the blessed Saviour “without a cause” and just so we are loved by God and “justified” without a cause.

Lesson 26—Romans 6:14-23

Deliverance Illustrated In Rom. 6 and 7 the theme is as we have seen Deliverance. We have had the truth presented to us and now it is illustrated. Two illustrations are used, the one is taken from slavery and the other from marriage. We will look at the first one here. The Illustration From Slavery, ch. 6:14-23 In the days of slavery many a poor slave tried to cross the river between the States and Canada. If he crossed that river he would no longer be under the dominion of his form...

Lesson 28—Romans 7:7-13

The Experience Of Paul We have looked at the illustrations of deliverance. Now we will listen to Paul as he gives us his experience. He tells us how he was delivered from the bondage of sin and the law. He draws the veil aside from his own inmost life and discloses its secrets. It is a great help to us, for as we listen we know that our experience is quite similar to his. We know that we are united to Christ, we are one with Him and ought to be happy in the experience of it and yet for a ...

Lesson 43—Romans 12:9-21

Service in the Christian Circle There are two vast fields for Christian service the one “within” and the other “without.” The one sphere includes all who love the Lord Jesus Christ and the other all those who are outside the circle of Christian fellowship. We learn that we have responsibilities towards both those who are “within” and towards those who are “without.” Peter writes about “the brotherhood” our “brethren that are in the world.” (1 Pet. 2:17, 5:9). He te...
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