Session 5 | Romans 2:2-11
Romans 1:18-3:39 | The Case Rejected
Supplemental Resource: Romans Graphically Presented, pgs. 5-6
Romans 2:2-16 | God's Work Under Law*
Supplemental Resource: Romans Graphically Presented, pg 10
#### Romans 2:2-3 | God Is Able To Judge*
**Supplemental Resource: Romans Graphically Presented, pg. 14
##### Verse 2 -- Green*
Paul has been talking, in general, of the world situation, including the manifestation of God (1:18-20), the rejection by the world of that manifestation (1:21-23), and the wrath of God (1:24-2:1). Now Paul turns his attention toward the judgment of God as manifested during the dispensation of the Law. Verses 2-3 are a bridge, being applicable in general to all men living in that dispensation, with general truth for all times. By verse four the application is only to those living under Law, and thus care should be taken not to make direct application to our Christian lives today, for we are not under law.
In verse 2, Paul expresses a foundational element of Judeo-Christian thought, that God (and only God) is righteous and holy, and thus only God can pass judgment.
##### Verse 3 -- Green
A similar foundation to Judeo-Christian thought is that there is an inescapable judgment of God“day of judgment."
However, though not revealed at this point in the book of Romans, there is an age of grace in which a person may totally skip the judgment! Compare Romans 8:1 and Galatians 3:13, for example.
In our rightly divided color coding, these words should not be black, for they do have some applicability to mankind today. But they should not be blue because there is a way to escape the judgment of God. I have made them green because they contain a foundational issue which has truth for those who reject the gospel of grace.
Romans 2:4 | God Allows RepentAnce
Supplemental Resource: Romans Graphically Presented, pg. 14
##### Verse 4 -- Black
These words apply to those under the law, and not to our dispensation (see v. 6 and v. 12-14, for evidence). During the age of the law God's goodness and forbearance and longsuffering was a gracious way of leading sinners to repentance.
While the Greek word μετάνοια [metanoia] has the etymology related to change of thinking, the usage of the word is not as much the change of thinking as the change of behavior. There are many in the Free Grace Movement and others who adhere to grace-salvation who emphasize change of thinking to avoid the clear works requirement of change of behavior. However, this really doesn't solve the problem since a change of thinking is as works-based as a change of behavior (for isn't a day of education work?) Only the right-divider has the blessing of recognizing that repentance belongs in the age of the law. With this recognition one does not need to wordsmith repentance“unwork" the work of repentance is so pervasive that the right-divider will hear it often and be tempted to employ it rather than use proper right-division.
The law of first use in hermeneutics is that the first use of a word sets its default definition. The first use of repentance is found in Matthew 3:8. Another hermeneutical principle is that the simple defines the difficult. The simplest use of the word is found in Hebrews 6:1 and is clearly a works-based usage.
#### Romans 2:5-11 | The Coming Judgment And Its Standards
Supplemental Resource: Romans Graphically Presented, pg. 15
##### Verse 5 -- Black*
Too many, in that age of the law, did not come to repentance“treasure chest" of wrath against the day of wrath.
The word θησαυρίζω [thesaurizo] (translated treasurest) is the root of our word thesaurus. It is an "ultimate and complete collection" of things. Under the law, this full treasure of sin would be dealt with at the righteous judgment of God“treasure chest of wrath" because God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them (2 Cor. 5:19).
##### Verse 6 -- Black
At the time of the righteous judgment of God (v. 5) God will render to every man according to his deeds. This is, of course, incompatible with the Pauline message of grace, in which deeds are not considered. The word translated deeds is ἔργον [ergon], the common word for works. How can one be saved by grace...through faith...not of works (Eph. 2:8-9) and then experience a judgment according to his deeds? Only a right-division approach to interpretation resolves this difficulty.
##### Verse 7 -- Black
To the one who argue against our position that these verses do not refer to the age of grace, and that verse 7 refers to rewards of salvation, this verse becomes an almost impossible conundrum, for it unequivocally teaches that the path to eternal life is through patient continuance in well doing. If ever there was a works-based message of salvation, this is it. For additional Scriptures that support the idea that those living under Law (pre and post age of Grace) would be saved by works of the Law, consider Leviticus 18:5 and Luke 10:25-28.
The problem in the common interpretation comes from 1800+ years of the prevalence Covenant Theology. Even dispensational thinkers have a hard time getting away from this kind of thinking. When we try to fit every passage of Scripture into our preconceived notions of "everyone always by grace through faith," then we create contradictions that otherwise would not have been there. Take this passage as distinct and separate from the age of grace and everything harmonizes. Fail to recognize the different salvation of the age of grace and everything becomes convoluted.
##### Verses 8-9 -- Black
For those who do evil deeds (as opposed to verse 7), the righteous judgment of God (v. 5) will bring indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish. Once again, this is impossible“rewards" position. It is clearly and absolutely a position in which good works bring eternal life (v. 7) and evil works brings punishment upon every soul of man that doeth evil.
##### Verse 10 -- Black
Paul began with glory and honour in verse 7 and concludes with the same here. These are presented as reward to every man that worketh good. Once again, works are plain as day in verses 5-11.
The phrase to the Jew first, and also of the Gentile is found three times in Scripture, verse 9, verse 10, and Romans 1:16 (where Greek is used rather than Gentile, and all three verses use the word Ἕλλην [helleni] ). This phrase is often used to describe the age of grace but is actually in opposition to this age because there is currently neither Jew nor Greek (Gal. 3:28, Col. 3:11). The time of grace is not a time in which there is a Jew first theology, but prior to and after this dispensation God's activity is definitely to the Jew first.
##### Verse 11 -- Black
Deuteronomy 10:17 sets this forth as a characteristic of God. Under the law, the Jew was first (v. 10), but the Gentile would be judged under the same standard as the Jew, namely, the Law.
This character trait, of course, remains under grace even though the standard of judgment changed from works to faith.