by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 8 January 4, 2005 Lincolnton, N.C.
(088)Thesis:A person will only be determined to be righteous by God if he/she has acted in harmony with law.
Introduction:One of the most confusing issues for men is the question of how God will finally respond to their behavior. It is confusing enough to be subjected to "experiences" in this world (what does the fact that I have been plunged into this experience mean in terms of who and what I am?), but it is even more confusing to try to figure out what my experiences will be in the next world. Because my experience in the next world is going to be a "static state" thing (there will be no alterations of the final judgments of God), it becomes a pretty critical issue for me to have some resolution of the confusion. Paul's statements in Romans 2:13 and 3:20, though designed to be a part of the solution to the confusion, are often misused so that they end up adding to the confusion rather than resolving it. Therefore, we are going to give some careful attention to what Paul wrote in Romans 2:13 to see if we can move toward a greater resolution of the confusion.
I. Our First Consideration: What is Paul's "Subject"?
A. He gives us a clear indication by his repetitive use of "just/justified".
1. By this repetition we know that Paul is addressing the issue of how God is going to initially respond to our behavior.
a. He makes no pretense of knowing how God is going to ultimately respond in regard to the details (who is going to be placed where in the eternal regions?).
1) When we look at 1 Corinthians 2:9 in comparison to Romans 8:18 and 2 Corinthians 4:17, we see that the details are deliberately shrouded, though highly touted.
2) All who pretend to know those details are false teachers.
b. He only declares the "bottom line".
2. By this repetition we know that Paul is addressing whether God will accept or reject a person.
a. The text gives us two options.
b. These options translate into the basic issue of divine acceptance or rejection.
3. By this repetition we know that Paul is addressing the criterion by which God will decide whether to accept or reject a person.
a. In order to be accepted by God, one must be "justified" by God.
1) This means that God will first examine a person's credentials.
2) This means that God will then "justify" the person whose credentials pass His examination.
b. In order to be accepted by God, one must not have "truncated" the requirements.
1) The only reason for Paul's "it is not those who hear law who are just before God" is man's penchant for attempting to reduce the requirements into a "manageable set".
a) Men are notorious for "truncating"...
b) Examples of "truncating"...
i. Averaging out (doing more good than bad).
ii. Mortal and venial sins (historical Catholicism and Arminianism).
iii. Confessing the legitimacy of God's law (this verse).
iv. Say the sinner's prayer; ask Jesus into your heart; give your heart to Jesus (modern American evangelicalism).
2) The requirement by Paul of "doing" cannot be "truncated" either.
a) Paul gives no hope in this text that doing "some" of the law will work.
b) Paul's scenario in this text is that of God going through all of the records as Revelation 19 [look at this text] records. God is not going to look for one example of "obedience"; He is going to be looking for any examples of "disobedience".
B. He gives us clear indication by his repeated focus upon "the day" (2:5 and 16).
1. The "day" is clearly identified in two ways...
a. It is called, first, the Day of Wrath as a Day of Revelation of Righteous Judgment.
b. It is called, second, the Day of God's Judgments of the Secrets of Men.
2. The combination of these identifying markers tell us as clearly as is possible that Paul is talking about a particular day when one specific event will take place: the evaluation of those men who, having never embraced the Gospel ("...you are storing up wrath in the Day of wrath..."), are subjected to a life-evaluation of their "doings" with the "secret motivations" exposed so as to determine whether they can be determined to be "just".
C. Thus, Paul's "Subject" is "God's evaluation of men in the Day of Wrath to see of what sort their works consist".
II. Our Second Consideration: The Correlation Between Romans 2:13 and 3:20.
A. Romans 2:13 addresses the scenario on the Day of Wrath.
B. Romans 3:20 addresses the outcome: no one is justified in that day.