Calvary Road Baptist Church

“GOD’S PLAN FOR JUDGMENT”

Romans 2.12-16

 

With the rapid decline of international prestige for the United States, the rise of Russian power in the Middle East, the ascendancy of Turkey, and other related events, there is an ever-increasing sense of foreboding and the dawn of a keen interest in Bible prophecy among more and more Americans. Have you noticed it? People who do not believe the Bible are suddenly interested in the prophecies found in the book of Daniel, are suddenly interested in the books of Isaiah and Ezekiel and are suddenly interested in Matthew’s Gospel and John’s Revelation. All over the world people who scoffed and laughed and used in derisive speech the name of Christ are now nervously interested in the identity of the antichrist. Is it Assad of Syria? Is it Barak Obama? Is it an as yet unrecognized leader emerging in Iran?

My friend, this lost old world has once again demonstrated her complete and total inability to understand spiritual truths. You see, no one needs to worry about the battle of Armageddon, as horrible as the Bible promises it will be. And fretting over the precise timing and chronology of Bible prophecy isn’t going to do anyone any good, whatsoever. Indeed, as horrible as the future events on this old sin-cursed world are promised and prophesied to be in God’s Word, they are mild and tame in comparison to what will come afterward. And what will come afterward? The judgment of God.

Lost people in our cities and around the world are concerned about this and that and the other thing, but by and large they are ignoring the one thing that God wants them to be concerned about. They think the coming battle of Armageddon will be fearful. That will not be fearful. Not in comparison to what God’s Word says is fearful. The Bible says that it’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, Hebrews 10.31. And the antichrist? He’s not to be feared. Nor is any man to be feared. Not even Satan is to be feared. Do you want to know who is to be feared? God is to be feared. The Lord Jesus said, in Matthew 10.28, that we are to 

“fear him which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.” 

That’s not Vladimir Putin. That’s not the leader of ISIS. That’s not the antichrist or Satan. That’s God. Only God can destroy both body and soul in hell.

Do you see what everyone is ignoring in their rush to bone up on prophecy? They’re ignoring what the Bible says about judgment. So this evening we’re not going to examine Bible prophecy in light of the present activities in the Middle East. We’re going to examine what the Bible says about judgment. Specifically, we’re going to see what God’s plan for judgment happens to be, as told to the Christians in Rome. Turn to Paul’s letter to the Romans. When you have come to Romans chapter two, I invite you to read silently while I begin reading from Romans 2.12: 

12    For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

13    (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

14    For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15    Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

16    In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. 

God’s plan for Judgment. We’ll look at the conclusion advanced, then the consideration, and then close with the criteria. Our goal? To make sure that we will stand on that Judgment Day. To make sure that God’s judgment will be in our favor on that fateful day. 

IN ROMANS 2.12, WE SEE THE CONCLUSION REGARDING GOD’S JUDGMENT 

“For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the 1law shall be judged by the law.” 

Notice that in verse 12 the Apostle Paul draws conclusions about two entirely different kinds of people:

First, as many as have sinned without the Law. It must be asserted and it must be understood that the Law was not given to everyone. It was given only to the Jewish people. Notice what Moses said in Deuteronomy 5.2-3, about the Mosaic Covenant, commonly referred to as the Law of Moses: 

2      The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.

3      The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. 

Now notice what Paul writes to our readers in the first half of Romans 3.19: 

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law.” 

Obviously, then, those people who sinned without the Law are not the Jewish people, but Gentiles and only Gentiles. So, what does Paul conclude about those who have sinned, but who have sinned without the Law of Moses? Just as they have sinned without the Law, they shall also perish without the Law. And this is just as we have thought, realizing that God never gave the Law to save anyone, least of all the Gentiles, but to show sin. So, what we Gentiles have missed out on without the benefit of the Law of Moses is the benefit of having a standard of righteousness condemn us and our lifestyles. And what happens to those who are already spiritually dead who die without the condemnation of the Law? They perish.

But what about those who have sinned under the Law? This, of course, refers to the Jewish people, and not even all of the Jewish people, but only those from the time of Moses and those who lived subsequently. What fate awaits those with the privilege of the Law? Having sinned under the tutelage of the Law, the Jewish people will be judged by the Law. Again, this is understandable, since the Law was not given to save, and does not have the power to save. The Law, showing what God’s expectations are, but not how to achieve those expectations, can only stand as silent testimony to the fact that the Jewish people knew what was expected of them by a holy God, but did not measure up. Notice, if you will, that the ultimate end of both the Gentiles and the Jewish people is the same. How shocking to the Jewish people this conclusion is. How amazing. How can this be? 

IN ROMANS 2.13-15, WE SEE THE CONSIDERATION REGARDING GOD’S JUDGMENT 

Here is answered the startled question of how the Jewish people could have the same fate awaiting them as the Gentiles: 

13    (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

14    For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15    Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 

Notice, first, the requirement for justification, in 2.13: 

“(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” 

This verse is more easily understood if you remember that justification is not only something God does at a specific instant in time. While it is true that God justifies by faith in Christ, Romans 5.1, justification does not stop there. Believers are justified throughout their Christian lives and, indeed, will be justified by God on Judgment Day. It is that Judgment Day justification that Paul is talking about in Romans 2.13. What, then, is the requirement for justification on Judgment Day? There is a negative requirement and a positive one: 

“For not the hearers of the law are just before God.” 

With this statement, Paul shakes up the Jewish people again. You see, they specifically thought of themselves as being just in the sight of God just because they heard the Law each and every Sabbath. But, along with James in James chapter one, Paul indicates that listening to the truth is just not good enough. The only one who shall be justified, and it’s that “shall be” that lets us know Paul is talking about the Judgment Day in the future. The only one who shall be justified is the one who is a doer of the Law, not just a hearer. That is the requirement for justification on Judgment Day.

Second, notice the realization considering justification. If justification on Judgment Day is only for those who do the Law, then some undeniable observations have to be explained. Such as, how in the world do you explain, if doing the Law is so critical, that some Gentiles who don’t even have the Law just seem sometimes to do things that the Law calls for, 2.14? 

“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves.” 

Don’t we all know people who, despite the fact that they make no pretense of worshipping and serving God, seem to be so wonderfully generous and kind and sensitive? They live the kinds of lives that people who know the will of God ought to live. How are they to be explained, because they do not have the Law? And as there are people we know who are this way, there were people in Paul’s day who were the same way. They just seem like saints. The explanation for such people is that their behavior testifies to an inner quality of life, verse 15: 

“Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)” 

We know they do not have the Law since Paul has told us that. But Paul also indicates that the work of the Law, or the requirements of the Law, is written in their hearts. And their conscience bears witness to their lifestyle. Some people seem to have no conscience at all. And although we know their consciences are seared and hardened, those referred to here by Paul have the most sensitive consciences. Why even their thoughts both accuse and excuse one another. They have a very keen sense of what is right and wrong. Folks, the reason such people as these must be considered is that, if it’s what you do that’s important come Judgment Day, these Gentiles that are without the Law, that we see from time to time in our journey through life. They seem to live lives that are too often superior to those who have been given the Law. So, when it comes to judgment, it isn’t simply a matter of whether or not you are Jewish. If that was the case, how in the world do you rationalize such people as these perishing? No, there’s something missing. Paul has already concluded that those who sin without the Law perish. And these people, wonderful as their lives are frequently seen to be, are not without sin. As well, those who have sinned in the Law, they shall be judged by the Law come Judgment Day. 

SHALL ANY MAN STAND ON JUDGMENT DAY? YES, IF YOU MEET GOD'S CRITERIA 

In Romans 2.16 we see God’s criteria for standing on Judgment Day. Yes, judgment will be by works. But what are the criteria whereby you shall be justified on Judgment Day? 

“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” 

Four things are given for our edification in this wonderful verse:

First, we are told when judgment shall be. It is 

“In the day when God shall judge.” 

No specific time is given, except that it is yet future. But make no mistake about it. You are appointed to be there. Have no fear that you will mistakenly miss it.

Second, we are told what shall be judged. 

“God shall judge the secrets of men.” 

Here we see, as was alluded to in verse 15, that the works which please God are not necessarily those which are outward and which can be seen by men. For you see, God shall judge the secrets of our hearts. Not just the what, but also the why.

Third, we are told Who shall be the judge. 

“God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.” 

Though God is the judge, He has chosen to judge through an Agent, and His Agent is Jesus Christ. So, both at the Judgment Seat for Christians and at the White Throne Judgment of unbelievers, it will be Jesus Christ, the Righteous, Who shall judge both the quick and the dead. Mock and ridicule Him if you will, lost man, but He will have the last word on that day.

Finally, what will the question be, come Judgment Day? 

“When God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” 

The criteria will be the Gospel. What have you done with Jesus Christ? And it will be Christ Who does the judging. “What have you done with Me?” He will determine. 

The end draws ever closer. The events in the Middle East may very well be setting the stage for the emergence of the antichrist. But more important than those events is the great day of God’s judgment. Are you ready for God’s judgment? You are if you’ve obeyed the Gospel.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org