The Berean Expositor
Volume 51 - Page 125 of 181
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He may belong to the privileged people of God, but fails to realize that because of
this, God demands a higher standard of conduct from him than from the darkened Gentile
world. In ignoring this, declares the Apostle, he is only storing up for himself wrath in
the future day of judgment, instead of the goodness and long-suffering of God leading
him to humility and repentance now:
"And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the
same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of His
goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God
leadeth thee to repentance?" (2: 3 and 4).
One thing that cannot be questioned is the righteousness of God's judgment. It is
absolutely impartial and fair; it is "according to truth" (verse 2). There are no favourites
with God where sin and failing are concerned. To the sinning Jew Paul asks, do you
think that you, one of the favoured people, will escape? Especially when you despise the
riches of His kindness, forbearance and long-suffering (4). The answer is definitely "no".
In fact, the Apostle says, with your impenitence and false judgment you are storing up for
yourself God's wrath which will be made known in the future day of wrath:
". . . . . after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up (stores up) unto thyself wrath
against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God" (2: 5).
This righteous judgment will take into account a man's environment, the limit of his
responsibility and his works:
"Who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient
continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life; but
unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,
indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of
the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour and peace, to every man that
worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile; for there is no respect of persons
with God" (Rom. 2: 6-11).
The Apostle does not quote any passages of Scripture, for the O.T. is perfectly clear
on this point. He doubtless had in mind such passages as Psa. 62: 11, 12; Prov.xxiv.12;
Jer. 17: 10; 32: 19. The N.T. emphasize the same truth (Matt.xvi.27; II Cor. 5: 10;
Rev. 2: 23; 20: 12; 22: 12), although most of these Scriptures have the believer in
view primarily.
The emphasis on human works here may raise a problem. On the surface it looks as
though Paul is teaching salvation by works. If he was doing this, then it runs contrary to
the consistent testimony of his witness as well as this epistle itself, namely that salvation
is by grace and not works or merit. The Apostle was not the sort of man to indulge in
such contradictions. The Apostle here is stressing the impartiality of God as between Jew
and Gentile. The continuance in well doing of the genuine seeker is but the outward
expression of his inward desire for the eternal things (glory, immortality, eternal life)
which are resident only in God and not in man.
Did not the Lord say "By their fruits ye shall know them"? The "fruits" are the
external evidence of persistent inward longing and appreciation of the truth of God.