The Moralist Condemned, Part 1 - Romans 2:1-5

I want to begin in a word of prayer. Father, as we come to this time to look together into your word, we believe that your word is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and we pray that your Holy Spirit would take your word and apply it deeply within our soul. I pray that the Holy Spirit would be our primary teacher, that you would use me as a secondary teacher, and that each one of us would be sanctified and our minds would be renewed and our lives would be set apart to live for your glory all the more. We ask now that your hand rest strongly upon us as we study your word and I pray for all those who are watching around the world, that you would meet with them as we met together in Christ's name. Amen.

 

Okay, take your Bible and turn to Romans, are you ready for this? Chapter 2. We're making progress, men. We are now in Romans 2.

 

We're in Romans 2 and Lord willing, we're going to look at the first five verses this morning. We'll see how our pace goes. I want to begin just by reading this passage so that you can have it set before you and if you're taking notes, a title on this would be The Moralist Condemned, and that's the succinct summary of what this paragraph is about. Paul being, "Therefore, you have no excuse, every one of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself. For you who judge practice the same things and we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things, but do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

Or, do you think lightly of the riches of his kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance, but because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God."

 

Let me just read verse 6 as well. "Who will render to each person according to his deeds." Paul here, obviously, is continuing to drill down yet deeper in the sin of unconverted men and women. He is drilling down yet deeper into total depravity. He is drilling down deeper in this opening section that we can label condemnation and it's absolutely necessary that he keep drilling down, because the higher the skyscraper, the deeper the foundation must be, because Paul is about to erect, beginning in the middle of chapter 3, the most monumental high rise, skyscraper that will tower with the saving grace of God and nowhere else in all of Paul's writings will he open up the truth of salvation, justification, propitiation, redemption, reconciliation, sanctification, glorification.

 

It will be jaw dropping, but before Paul can go up, he first has to go down, and that's where we find ourselves. Unless you think are we ever going to move on to the message of salvation? We're going to get there, but Paul is not building a two-floor apartment. He is building a skyscraper that goes all the way up through the clouds, literally to the throne of grace and he must build a very firm deep foundation in the doctrine of total depravity, the doctrine of radical corruption, and that is what is taking place here. As we come to chapter 2, this is the issue that is on the table. We have just gone through the end of Romans 1 and Paul has taken us through a section that is extraordinary.

 

I mean, he has taken us through what we looked at in verse 24, given over to immorality, verse 26, given over to lesbianism and homosexuality, verse 29, wickedness, greed, evil, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, etc, etc, etc. There are people who say, hey, I haven't been pulled into this. I haven't killed anybody. I'm not a murderer. I'm not a homosexual. I'm not a lesbian. This does not fit me. I'm not there. I'm not in this cesspool of inequity that is laid out here. I'm a fine person. I love my family. I'm hardworking. I'm a good citizen. I help people. This shoe does not fit me. Paul, who's always out ahead, I know what you're thinking. He gets out ahead of this parade and beginning in chapter 2, verse 1, he addresses what we will call the moralist. The person who is outwardly upstanding, high moral values, loves his family, cares for his family, but here's the deal.

 

This person has never come to faith in Jesus Christ. This person is simply resting in their outward morality. This person is just resting in their own personal goodness to get them to Heaven and Paul is gonna head this off at the pass and beginning in chapter 2, verse 1, and extending, and we're not gonna be able to get through this whole thing, but through verse 16, he addresses this person who has the outward façade. This is just like the nicest person I've ever met.

 

I was reading this morning. I had just a couple seconds. I picked up a Golf Digest and I'm reading in this thing about Arnold Palmer, it's a tribute to Arnold Palmer, who I just love to death, and I had the chance to go to Latrobe, like, two years ago, three years ago right before he died, and sit in his office with him, and just interact with him and every trophy he's ever won, etc, etc. I mean, this is the greatest most fine upstanding person. At his funeral up in Pennsylvania, Matt, they — I mean, the choir sang the "Battle Hymn of the Republic". I mean, this was an American flag icon, but it doesn't matter what a good person you are. Good people don't go to Heaven. Hell is full of good people. The only way that you are right with God, is to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is the argument that Paul is making here in these verses. Now, I want to give you three headings as we walk through this. It'll be very simple, very easy to follow me. Now, the third heading will have a couple of subpoints.

 

We're gonna look first at the addressee. Who is Paul addressing here? Then second the approach and finally the argument.

 

I.               THE ADDRESSEE

 

I want you to note first, the addressee, and I'm gonna tell you what I've done in my preaching Bible here. I've taken my ballpoint pen and I've drawn a circle around every time I see the word you. Beginning in verse 1, "Therefore, you". Who is the you? "Therefore, you have no excuse, every one of you who passes judgment for in that which you judge another you condemn yourself or you who judge practice sin." Five times in the first verse, he says, you. Any careful Bible student is gonna have to get to the bottom of who is the you? But it doesn't slow down. In verse 3, "But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things," at the end of the verse, "That you will escape the judgment of God?" Verse 4, "Or do you think lightly?"

 

At the end of verse 4, "This should lead you to repentance." Stop right there. This person is obviously unconverted. Whoever this you is, because this person needs to come to repentance and we'll talk about repentance in a little bit, and then in verse 5, "You are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath." You is under the wrath of God. You is unrepentant. You in verse 5 is stubborn and is unrepentant and in verse 1, you go around judging everyone else with a holier than thou attitude." That you're above it. The you is the person who is a fine, moral, upstanding person who is unrepentant, who is under the wrath of God, who thinks he's better than other people, but has never seen himself as God sees him. That's who this you is. He's not talking to the believers in the church at Rome. The believers in the church at Rome are not under the wrath of God. The believers in the church at Rome are not unrepentant. They are repentant and they have escaped the judgment of God through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

The person that Paul is addressing here, if you'll look ahead in verses 9 and 10, he talks about both Jew and gentile, and in verse 12, whether you have the law or without the law, whether you're a Jew, whether you're a gentile. The you here, who is being addressed is a self-righteous person who thinks that the gospel is for someone else. This is the single hardest person to reach on planet Earth with the gospel. They don't know that they're lost. They don't think that they're lost. The people in Romans 1 kind of have an idea — they don't care, but they're easier to reach with the gospel, because we don't have to convince them they're a sinner. They know they're a sinner. They just don't wanna deal with it, but this person in Romans 2, if this person was a fine church-going person, maybe even someone who grew up in church, someone who knows all the answers, but someone who has never been regenerated by the Spirit of God and has never been born again.

 

This is who Paul is addressing and he doesn't want this person to get off the hook. Just because, as we looked at Romans 1 and see this foul comprehensive gathering of unsaved people, he doesn't want the moralists to say, yeah, Paul, you keep talking to them. You keep preaching to them. I'm just fine. That is who the you is.

 

II.             THE APPROACH

 

Now, second, the approach. Paul is gonna use a rhetorical device known as a soliloquy where you carry on an imaginary conversation. He will do it later in Romans 9. I mean, "Who are you, O man, who answers back to God?" The thing molded, say to the maker, say to the potter, he's carrying on an imaginary conversation. It's a very effective form of communication. Sometimes when I'm preaching, I'll say in the sermon, I know exactly what you're thinking. You're thinking and I'm trying to answer questions as you are raising them in your mind.

 

That's a very effective form of communication. I need to do more of it. Paul does it all the time in his letters and for example, in verse 3, "But do you suppose this, O man?" See, can you see the conversation that he's carrying on with an imaginary figure? He's not talking to the believers in Rome, because they have repented and they're not under the wrath of God. He is raising this person who is a representative person. He is a representative, imaginary person, and in verses 3 and 4, you'll notice both end with question marks in your Bible. He will ask rhetorical questions, probing questions. Just like a lawyer will put someone on the stand and begin to ask questions to bring out what they know. That's the approach that's going on here and this leads us now to really the heart of what we wanna talk about, the approach, and Paul will have five things to say regarding the approach, and I want you to track this with me.

 

I've been kicking the tires on this all week and trying to find the thread that runs through these verses and I think I finally have latched onto this thread that runs through this and I want to give you five very simple statements that will help us walk verse by verse through this second. The first is in verse 1. He says, "You practice the same sin." You Mr. Moralist practice the same sin. What same sins? The same sins as we just saw at the end of Romans 1. Maybe different in extent, maybe different in trajectory, maybe different in manifestation, but when you peel it down, and you get to the very heart, it's the very same root. You're breaking the same ten commandments. It's just a different manifestation of your sin. Notice what he says in verse 1, "Therefore," and the word therefore, connects Romans 1 to Romans 2. Therefore, pulls forward what he just said. "Therefore, you have no excuse."

 

This moralist has been coming up with all kinds of excuses, like, this doesn't apply to me, and he says, no, you have no excuse. He just said that in verse 20 of chapter 1. At the end of verse 20, in chapter 1, he says, "They are without excuse." Do you see that? Paul now attaches this to this moralist, saying, and you, too, are without excuse, before God. No matter how outwardly good you may appear to be, if you have not come to the end of yourself and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are practicing the very same sin. Verse 1, "Therefore, you have no excuse, every one of you." That's a blanket term. That just throws the blanket over everyone in this category who passes judgment, meaning looking down your long nose at others and passing judgment upon them for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself. For you who judge, practice the same things.

 

Now, if we take the ten commandments and impose that over these verses at the end of Romans 1, you've committed the very same sin. For example, the easy ones. He says in verse 29, they're murderers. They actually were. Jesus will say in Matthew 5, "If you have hatred in your heart for another person, you've committed the very same sin." You are a murderer and in fact, you are guilty enough to go into the fiery Hell or in verse 26, gave them over to homosexuality and lesbianism. The ten commandments say you shall not commit adultery. Did you lust in your mind? Do you fantasize in your mind? Do you go places where you should not go in your thought life and enter into illicit relationship in your mind? You're guilty of the very same sin. You are an adulterer in the mind of God and in the judgment of God and Jesus says so in Matthew 5. It's as crystal clear as can be.

 

That's when Jesus said, if your right eye causes you to stumble, you better pluck it out or you're going to Hell, and then he says, and if your right hand causes you to stumble, and with the right eye, he's talking about fantasizing and looking at another woman and your right hand, you go even further and put your hand where your hand should not be, you are guilty of breaking the commandment that says, you shall not commit adultery, even if you don't commit the actual act. That's why here in verse 1, Paul says, you are practicing the very same sins, and we don’t have time to go back through and breakdown everything in verses 29, 30, and 31. You probably don't want me to go back through that laundry list right now. I mean, we got it the first time, but this is Paul's point. You practice the same sin and you can be a fine, upstanding person, nevertheless, if you're not converted to Christ, you have been weighed in the balances, and found guilty of the very same sin.

 

That's in verse 1. Now, he advances the argument yet further in verses 2 and 3 and the second thing that he will say is, "You will suffer the same judgment." Number one, you practice the same sin. Number two, you will suffer the same judgment. You're not going to have a separate line to stand in on the last day. You are going to be in the very same line of those who are guilty, who will be standing before God. Look at verses 2 and 3 and we know. That's a way of saying, this is common knowledge 101. If you're breathing and have two brain cells touching between your ears, you ought to know this. This is kindergarten information and we know that the judgment of God. Now, this judgment of God is entirely different from man's judgment in verse 1. You've been holding court on other people, you're about to be subpoenaed to God's court, and you who judge others in verse 1, you are going to appear at the judgment of God.

 

You, yourself and it will be a perfect judgment. Notice he says that rightly falls upon those who practice such things, and this is referring to the moralists. You practice these things just like this other person. You just haven't extended defenses as far enough out yet for your actions to go yet further and you have a slightly different coating around your sin that's a little bit more respectable, but when you peel back the bark, and you get down at the very heart and root of this sin, it is the very same seed of sin and you therefore, will suffer the very same exposure before God, and condemnation by God. That's what he is saying and he says, "This judgment of God rightly falls upon the moralist." He does get an exemption, because his outward façade, his outward packaging. "Man looks on the outward appearance. God looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7.

 

When he says, rightly falls, literally out of the original language, it is translated according to truth and it will be a right judgment according to truth. The truth about you will come out. You will be judged by the truth of God's word. You will suffer the same judgment. Now, look at verse 3. Paul really kind of amps up his rhetoric here and just when we think — I mean, if I was preaching this, I probably would back off. Like, the tide goes in, the tide goes out. You advance your argument and then, maybe you kinda take a step back and let the congregation gather themselves, maybe say something kind of pedestrian, and then you recharge. Paul just keeps charging. He doesn't pull back and in the next verse, in verse 3, and there is a note of intentional sarcasm here. God himself uses sarcasm when he speaks. Just read Job 38 and following. Paul uses sarcasm.

 

Sarcasm is a very effective form of communication when it is used properly and effectively and Paul is using sarcasm here carrying on this imaginary conversation with a representative person. He says in verse 3, "But do you suppose this?" He's tossing this out. "O man," what a belittling, shrinking this person down. "But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself that you will escape the judgment of God?" And he's talking about the great white throne of judgment. I mean, he's talking about that judgment on the final day when him whom sat upon the throne, all Heaven and Earth fled away, and the books are open and the Book of Life is open and the sea gave up the dead which were in them, and those who have committed unlawful acts, will have their day in court before God.

 

That is what the reference is here, and so, he's saying to the moralist, you're not going to escape the judgment of God. You're going to stand in the same courtroom and you're going to stand before the same judge and you will be found guilty of the very same sin and there is no out for you just because the thin veneer on the external packaging of your life is more respectable. Down on the inside, you are filthy and on the inside, you are totally depraved. This is the argument that Paul is making. Now, he advances it yet further. You're guilty of the same sin, you suffer the same judgment, and now, in verse 4, you resist the same kindness. In verse 4, he continues to talk to the same person. "Or do you think lightly of the riches of his kindness and tolerance and patience?" That is a question. That is what we call a rhetorical question. It is a literary device. You raise the question and in reality, you're making a statement.

 

It's like your wife saying to you before you go out to eat dinner with another couple, “You're not going to wear that shirt, are you?” That is not a question. That is a statement. You cannot wear that shirt tonight, it doesn't even begin go with your plaid pants. As Paul raises the question here, it's intended to be provocative, to surface to your mind that you yourself answer this question. The answer is “you do regard lightly the kindness of God that has been extended to you.” Now, to regard lightly is a Greek word that means to think down on, literally, to think down on, to look down upon and the idea is to be dismissive, to underestimate, to devalue, to pass over, to disregard. That's the idea here and when he says the kindness of God, it begins with common grace and then it extends to the offer of saving grace. Let's just begin with common grace.

 

God has been so kind to you Mr. Moralist, Mrs. Moralist. He's allowed you to be married. He's allowed you to have children and the joy of raising a family. He's allowed you to go to school, to have friends, to play sports. He's allowed you to have good health. He's allowed you to enjoy music. He's allowed you to enjoy the beauty of his creation. He's allowed you to breathe his air, to drink his water. God has been so good to you. I mean, the rain doesn't just fall on the elect. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. He has swung open the windows of Heaven and is good to all and you think so lightly of God's kindness that has been shown to you? And then more than that, not just common grace, but saving grace. You have heard the gospel and what Christ has come into the world to do and you have devalued this and think, well, it's only for these people in Romans 1. I do not need this or do you think lightly of the riches, the riches, plural, of his kindness?

 

For God to be rich in anything is just incomprehensible. He could just say his kindness, but the riches of his kindness is a treasure house of kindness that has overflowed and his tolerance and patience, how long suffering God has been with you? The more he has given his kindness to you, the more you have disregarded him, and just gone your own way, and you've actually thought that in your business — all your successes, that this was actually your genius and your ingenuity? You actually thought that you were turning all of these deals? You actually thought that all of this that's falling in your lap is because of your industry? When it is God who has given you life and breath and even providentially has caused these things to fall in your lap. Notice what he says at the end of verse 4. Not knowing that the kindness of God, not the wrath of God, the kindness of God leads you to repentance.

 

All of God's goodness and all of God's kindness and all of God's patience with you, he should have struck you dead after the first sin. He should have struck you dead as soon as you came out of your mother's womb. He should have struck you dead long ago. The soul that sins, it shall surely die. The wages of sin is death. He's been so patient with you Mr. Moralist. All of this should have melted your heart down and brought you to the point of repentance. Now, what is repentance? Literally the word repentance, means a change of mind. As you open up the scope and the entirety of the Bible, it means a change of mind, a change of affections, and a change of will. All three basic components, a change of mind, a change of affections, and a change of will, and it is a turning to God and if you turn to God through Christ, you are automatically turning away from what you were facing.

 

Now, if I take this watch, if this watch is facing me and if I now turn it around and face it in that direction, the other side of the watch is now facing me. If you take a coin, heads and tails, and you turn it around, you turn both sides of the coin. You can't turn heads without turning tails and repentance is a necessary component part of true saving faith. There is no true saving faith without repentance and saving faith is turning to Christ. The repentance is the turning away from your stranglehold of sin. You do not become perfect. We'll get to Romans 7 in a couple years. You will never become perfect, but listen, it is a change of direction, and it is a change of affection and if that hasn't happened, you're not a believer in Jesus Christ. You have a non-saving faith and there is a faith that does not save. Read the end of John 2. Read James 2. Even the demons believe. I can assure you that they have not come all the way to repentant saving faith.

 

Repentance is here a synonym for saving faith and there are times in the Bible when the gospel is preached and the only requirement is repent. Now, let's just do a quick walk through this and you're gonna have to do this quickly with me, but go to Matthew 3, Matthew 3, Matthew 3:2. "Now, in those", verse 1, "in those days, John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea saying, 'Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.'" That's the only requirement that is given here is repent and there are times, especially in the narratives, in the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and then in the book of Acts, where all you hear is the word repent. You don't even hear believe and repentance is used synonymously here with saving faith and then in the next verse, verse 3, he quotes from the Old Testament from Isiah 40:3, and he says, "Make ready the way of the Lord, make his path straight", and that is a turning away from sin in order to turn to the Lord.

 

Now, come to Mark 1, that was John the Baptist. That was John the Baptist's message. In Mark 1:15, this is the inaugural preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ and how does Jesus begin his public preaching ministry? What was his message? And in Mark 1:15, I'm going to start in verse 14, John, who had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel. So, how do you preach the gospel of God? Saying the time is fulfilled. The kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel. Sometimes it simply says repent, other times it says repent and believe, other places in the Bible it simply says believe. These are all one and the same. All true saving faith has repentance in it. There is a change of mind. You now see yourself for who you are and you see the way of salvation and you see your need of it. There is a change of affection. You now are convicted of your sin and you feel the heavy weight of guilt in conviction.

 

No one giggles into the Kingdom of Heaven. No one goes skipping through the narrow gate. Blessed are those who mourn, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven, for they shall be comforted, and then there is a change of will where you turn away from your life pursuit of sin, and you now turn and embrace the Lord Jesus Christ. Doesn't mean that there is any perfection, but is now a new direction with a new affection. Otherwise, you have not believed in Jesus Christ. Now, come to Luke 24. You have to see all of this. Luke 24:47, and the great commission when Jesus sent out his disciples to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, what did he tell them to preach? We have it in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts. Five times we have the great commission. We'll look at here in Luke's gospel. "Thus, it is written," verse 46, "that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day." That's the substance of the gospels.

 

The person and work of Christ. Now, verse 47, is the terms of the gospel. What must you do in order to have the saving work of Christ in your life? And he says in verse 47, that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations. No matter where you go on planet Earth for the rest of your life, you are to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sin. Meaning, no repentance, no forgiveness of sin. There must be repentance, a brokenness over one's sin, a sorrow over one's sin, and a turning away from that sin. The woman at the well in John 4, "Sir, give me this water." How many husbands do you have? Almost any Evangelical pastor today would have said, you want this water, let's just pray right now, and receive Christ into your life right now. No, we're gonna have to deal with repentance. We're going to have to deal with sin. You can't continue to be shacked up and to live in open morality.

 

You have, four or five husbands and the man you're living with is not even your husband. She goes, sir, I perceive you're a prophet. I mean, he just read the letter without opening the envelope. You have to deal with sin. It's the message of repentance. Now, come to the book of Acts, comes to Acts 2. Acts 2, probably the greatest sermon ever preached in the era of the church. It's the first sermon preached in the ear of the church. Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost. You know the message. It's the person and work of Christ. Acts 2:37, "Brethren, what shall we do?" They interrupted the sermon. I've actually had this happen to me before. I mean, this is a preacher's dream. You dream about this. Someone interrupts your sermon and they can't wait any longer, what must get to the application, for Heaven's sake. I got the truth. What do I do with this? What must I do to be saved? What does Peter say?

 

I mean, this is the time to tell it straight. He doesn't even say believe. He doesn't even say have faith in Christ. He says repent, because it's used as a synonym here for saving faith. Other places, like when Jesus said, repent and believe, true saving faith has repentance in it. Do you see the importance of preaching repentance? Comes to chapter 3, Acts 3:19, remember I told you I had the professor that would hold up the sign that just says, so what with a question mark? Here's the so what. Act 3:19, "Therefore, repent and return so that your sins may be wiped away." If you don't repent, your sins will not be wiped away. How crystal clear can this be? All true saving faith has repentance in it. When you turn to Christ, you turn away from your pursuit of sin. Not perfectly. We continue to sin. You're not going to continue to be shacked up. You are going to hate what you once loved.

 

That's the mark of genuine regeneration. You're not just checking boxes. Yeah, I believe this. Now, comes to Acts 20:20, you have to turn faster now. Acts 20:20, "I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable." I mean, Paul says, listen, I put it out there. I didn't hold back. I didn't shrink from declaring to you anything that you needed to hear, teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying. He was serious as a heart attack about this, to both Jews and Greeks, of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are twin sisters. Wherever you find one, you'll find the other. Wherever you find genuine faith, you will find genuine repentance, and when you find genuine repentance, you will find genuine saving faith. It is the heads and tails of the same coin. I wish I could trace this out a ton more.

 

It's the fastest and the quickest I can do to impress upon you the necessity of repentance for anyone to come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Come back to Romans 2:4 and we need to wrap this up. Now we understand in verse 4, "Or do you think lightly of the riches of his kindness and tolerance and patience not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?" This should be leading you to Christ. This should be leading you to saving faith in Christ. That's what he is saying and you resist the same kindness as the person in Romans 1. You are stiff arming the same mercy of God that is being extended to you.

 

III.           THE ARGUMENT

 

Now, I’m going to at least give you one more. Number four, we're doing this argument. This is the unfolding argument, number four. You store up the same wrath. You are storing up the same wrath and that's verse 5. Don't think there's not wrath being stored up for you Mr. Self-righteous, Religious-but-Lost, Church Member, fine upstanding citizen.

 

You get the yard of the month every month for your front yard. Look at verse 5, "But because of your stubbornness". Because of your stubbornness, that means callous, hardness of heart, obstinacy, unrepentant heart. It's the same word for repentance, but with the prefix a in front of it, which makes it a negative, like I told you last week. Museum is a place you go to think, amusement is a place you go not to think. The prefix a is the negative. This is non-repentant, unrepentant heart. You, the same person, you Mr. Moralist, are storing up wrath and the idea — Jonathan Edwards put it this way, the dam of God's kindness and patience and tolerance is holding back the stream and the river of his wrath and it's holding it back from you, but the longer you remain stubborn and stiff necked and unrepentant, it's just building and building and building and one day, God is going to remove this dam and there is going to be an even greater accumulation of wrath that will come.

 

Momentarily right now, it's being held back by his patience and his tolerance, giving you more time to repent, but the longer you refuse to repent, this wrath is accumulating exponentially and there's coming a day when God will remove the dam of his kindness and patience and tolerance and it is going to swallow you up into the belly of hell. That's the truth and I can't be too dramatic in my choice of words on this. That's exactly what Paul's saying. Look at again, verse 5, that because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself. This couldn't be any more personal. Remember I told you great preaching gets to the you. It gets beyond the we and the us and it gets to you. This is great teaching and preaching by Paul.

 

This is painfully personal. You are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath. That's what the final day is. There will not be, listen to this, there will not be one drop of mercy. There will not be one ounce of grace on the last day. It will be pure, shear, unadulterated, unvarnished wrath and the word wrath. You can hear orgy. It means heated passion and the heated passion of God. God will not be a stoic judge on that day. He is a holy God who will be so full of vengeance. He will be breathing terror out of his nostrils as the wrath of God is poured out upon the moralists. Storing up wrath in the day of wrath and revelation, is the Greek from which we get apocalypse, the unveiling, the unveiling of the righteous judgment of God. You're storing up the same wrath. You're committing the same sin. You will suffer the same judgment.

 

You're resisting the same kindness. Who do you think you're kidding? Who do you think you are? The worst form of human badness is human kindness when it becomes a substitute for the new birth. Romans 1 is John 4, Romans 2 is John 3. Romans 4 is the woman at the well with five husbands. Romans 2 is Nicodemus. Mr. Fine Upstanding Pharisee, moral, upstanding, damned unless he is born again. Now, I'm going to just toss out what we're going to look at next Friday. I'm just going to tease you with this, with the fifth heading. It's starts in verse 6 and we're gonna pick it up next Friday. "You will be judged by the same standard." That's verse 6 and it continues throughout the rest of these verses and that standard is your deeds. Notice, "who will render to each person," the who refers to God, God will render to each person according to his deeds. Now, you can go ahead and write this down.

 

We are saved by grace. We are judged by works. Saved by grace, judged by works, and all of your deeds have been recorded in a book and that book will be open on the last day. So much sin, so much judgment and hell will be hotter for some people than other. It's going to be hot for everybody who's there, but there will be some who will have accumulated more sin and they will have stored up more wrath, but they will be judged by their deeds and I've gone through the next verses with my little ballpoint pen and I have drawn a circle around every time I see the word do, doing, does, and it just flows like a river from verses 6 through 14 and that's what we're going to look at next time. That all judgment is by deeds and the moralist has plenty of deeds that will condemn him on the last day. What's the application? The application, if you'll come back to verse 5, there's a word we just breezed over and it's the word heart.

 

Everything is a matter of the heart. It's not the outward packaging, it's the heart. Do you have a believing heart? Do you have a repentant heart? Do you have a pure heart? Don't be caught up with the outward morality. Obedience is important. No question about it, but man looks on the outward appearance. God looks upon the heart. Watch over your heart for from it flows the issues of life. I want to ask you where is your heart today? Because your heart is the real you. Your heart is the engine that's driving your life. Your heart is your soul. It's your mind. It's your affections. It's your will. It's what you are on the inside. It's everything I can't see, but God can see. I can only see the outside, but God sees the heart. You've got to watch over your heart, because it's possible, like this moralist, to fake it on the outside. It's a religion that begins with the heart. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

 

Blessed are the poor in spirit, spirit, heart, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Where's your heart? Do you have a heart for God? Do you have a repentant heart? Even now as a Christian, we are repenters for the rest of our life. The initial repentance is only the first step leading into the kingdom. It's not over, it's just the beginning. We are to be repenters. David was a repenter. Peter was a repenter. We are to be repenters every step of the Christian life. There's got to be this growing hatred of our own sin and a growing love for God's holiness as we live our Christian life and we can mask our hearts as we live with one another in fellowship with one another, but as we're alone with God, it's our heart that God is after. Second point of application is we need to witness to people who are moralists, good fine upstanding people in this world.

 

Just because they're a good person by human standards on the outside, does not mean they're born again, does not mean they're repentant. Nicodemus was the straightest arrow that walked in Israel at that time. He was a paragon of morality, but he was lost. We need to recognize that there are many grandparents, in-laws, people we work with, who have never repented and have never been broken over their sin and turned away from it and turned to God and then, third, this is a call for every one of us to examine ourselves whether we'd be in the faith and for those who are watching on livestream, I mean, have you repented for the forgiveness of sins? Have you thought lightly of the kindness of God that should lead you to repentance? Every one of us, no matter how respectable our external may be, it doesn't matter if you're a church member, if you've been baptized, if you take the Lord's Supper, if you teach a Sunday school class, if you give to the church, if you help old ladies across the street, if you mail in your vote early on election day, I mean, none of that is going to get you to Heaven.

 

You must repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. For those around this table and for those watching on our livestream, I just say to you what John the Baptist said, what Christ said, what Peter preached, and what Jesus sent the disciples out to preach, repent and believe the gospel. Turn to Christ and turn away from your self-righteousness and your pursuit of sin.

 

Thank you for being here. I really wish we had had time to discuss this, but I really wish that you would internalize these verses, what I've said and what I've said is, I'm just an echo chamber of what Paul has taught here. Next time, we're going to drill down on these deeds that will be judged on the last day. Remember, we're going to get to the skyscraper, but we can't build up until we drill down and lay a foundation.

 

Let's pray. Father, thank you for this study in your word. We want all your word. We want the full council of God. We want everything that you have to say to us. We want not just the good news, we want the bad news. We want the whole truth and today, we recognize is another installment. Help us to watch over our hearts and not be just concerned with the outward packaging. Cause our hearts to be pure and to be repentant and to be trusting and believing in you. I pray this in Christ's name. Amen.

 

Dr. Steven J. Lawson

Dr. Steven J. Lawson is President and founder of OnePassion Ministries, a ministry designed to equip biblical expositors to bring about a new reformation in the church. Dr. Lawson hosts The Institute for Expository Preaching in cities around the world. Dr. Lawson is also a Teaching Fellow for Ligonier Ministries, where he serves on its board. Moreover, he is Professor of Preaching and oversees the Doctor of Ministry program at The Master’s Seminary, where he also serves on its board. Dr. Lawson is also Professor in Residence for Truth Remains, a work designed to promote and proclaim God’s written Word. Further, Dr. Lawson serves as the Executive Editor for Expositor Magazine published by OnePassion Ministries.