Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 10
Thesis: Man's condition under the wrath of God is made more serious by the fact that he has not been permitted to be ignorant of his sin.
Introduction: The Bible says that there is going to come a day when every knee bows (Romans 14:11) and every mouth is silenced (Romans 3:19) before the judgment of God. The Bible also, however, says that there will be a cacophony of voices raised in the day of judgment by men who resist the judgment of God (Matthew 7:22). What is it that is going to bring the noise level down to total silence? We have an illustration in John 8:1-11; but we have a clear explanation in Romans 2:15.
January 18, 2005
- I. The Damping of the Noise Level Will Begin With the Reality of the Heart.
- A. One aspect of the reality of the heart is that it dominates the actions of the body.
- 1. We are familiar with at least the bigger picture of the brain's impact upon the muscles.
- 2. Aside from a malfunction within the brain itself, the body does what the person decides will be done.
- 3. The decision of the person, however, is not determined by what the person knows.
- 4. The decision of the person is determined by a combination of what the person wants and what the person believes will get him what he wants.
- 5. Both of these issues (wanting and believing) have their foundations in what the Bible calls the "heart".
- a) The "wanting" is rooted in the heart (Matthew 5:28).
- b) The effective "believing" is rooted in the heart (Romans 10:9).
- B. A second aspect of the reality of the heart is that it is very much like a tablet.
- 1. Paul says the law is "written" in the heart.
- 2. This does two things...
- a) It makes the "heart" very much like a "tablet" (2 Corinthians 3:3).
- b) It makes the "heart" a secondary issue to the "writing".
- 3. This means that it is not the heart, per se, which determines the actions that will be taken, but what is written there.
- 4. And this means that the writer is the ultimate controller of the actions.
- a) This is borne out by both Jeremiah 31:33 and 2 Corinthians 3:3.
- b) This is what is so dangerous about Ephesians 2:1ff.
- C. A third aspect of the reality of the heart is that its contents are revealed by the actions of the body.
- 1. Paul says that the "doing" reveals the "writing".
- a. He is not claiming that there is discernment of motivation in the revelation.
- b. He is claiming that some mixture of "want" and "belief" have combined in the writing to produce the action...and that the action is clear evidence of the thing written.
- 2. This is a two-edged sword...
- a. The "doing" of what is written in the Law reveals the Law's presence in the heart.
- b. The "doing" of things contrary to the Law also, however, reveals the presence of something else in the heart besides the Law.
- c. This mixture has made the human heart a hopeless mess that is without remedy [Ezekiel 36:26 at least implies that even God cannot correct the mess; so He has promised to replace it].
- D. Thus, the first aspect of the damping of the noise will be the examination of the works that came out of the body.
- II. The Damping of the Noise Level Will Increase With the Reality of the Conscience.
- A. There is, within man, a "conscience" that does two things...
- 1. First, it monitors everything that proceeds out of the heart [the word "conscience" means "to perceive together with another"].
- 2. Second, it renders moral judgment upon everything that it observes [the word "bears witness" also includes another "witness"].
- B. The point of Paul's words is that man has an internal witness to what is coming out of his heart.
- C. The fact that he already knows what is written in the books of works leads to a further damping of the noise.
- III. The Damping of the Noise Level Will Be Complete by Reason of the Reality of the Reasonings.
- A. Paul says that a further development in the processes of man's actions is the active element of his "reasonings".
- B. Man recognizes the decisions of his "conscience" and immediately puts his "reasoning" into the process in order to respond to "accusation" and "excusing".
- C. The fact that the reasoning will be exposed for what it is (Romans 2:16) will finally bring about a dead silence.