Reading through the Bible together
After announcing in chapter 1, the power of the gospel which is for everyone who believes, Paul describes the utter depravity of the wicked. Those of us who have a knowledge of God might be tempted to say, “God, I thank you that I am not like those wicked heathens.”
However, in chapter 2 of Romans, Paul describes the sinfulness of all who have a knowledge of God. In verse 1, he shows that we are inexcusable because we who are judging the wickedness of others are guilty of sinning as well. And in verse 3, just as the wicked will be judged, those who know the truth but do some of those things will not escape the judgment of God.
We are reminded in verse 4, that it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance and it is evident that we all need to respond to His goodness. By the time we get to verses 10 and 11 of chapter 2, we see that Paul is proving that God does not overlook the sins of any class of people. Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, a Christian or a non-Christian, your profession is not what will save you in the judgment.
Paul then proceeds to demonstrate in verses 17-24 that God’s name is dishonored among the heathen by believers who preach and teach the law of God while breaking it at the same time. So often we do not realize how as believers our disregard of God’s law leads to the dishonor of God’s name among unbelievers.
In this chapter, he is showing that both professed believers and the wicked need the transforming power of the gospel. Whether one is a homeless drug addict living on the streets of some city, or an ordained minister of the Seventh-day Adventist church, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and are in need of the transforming power of Jesus Christ as given in the gospels.
Paul closes by telling us that righteousness from God is not merely a legal outward experience, but an inward conversion, circumcision of the heart. That is what it means to be a true believer, a spiritual Jew of the seed of Abraham. This will be made clearer in greater detail in Romans 4.
Norman McNulty, M.D.
Neurologist, Lawrenceburg, TN, USA