BREATHING A SIGH OF RELIEF:
After reading Chapter One in Romans this morning, I breathed a sigh of relief for one moment. Thinking, “Wow, I’m glad I’m not THAT bad!”
I’m sure those in Rome, maybe even those who might be reading this blog study in The Book of Romans (Chapter 2:1-10), might be thinking… “Yep, others, sinners, unbelievers, backslidden people really, really, REALLY are bad…BUT not me.” BECAUSE…
“I go to church. I’m good. I give my tithes to God. I’m certainly not one of them! I’m a real good & moral and upright person!”
We are real good at making EXCUSES for our own BAD BEHAVIOR.
Have you noticed how easy it is, to see bad behavior in others, but really think the best about ourselves?
“For by grace given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him” (Romans 12:3 AMP).
There Are Always:
AN EXCUSE: (‘to grant an exemption OR to release from’.)
They are often OUR RESPONSE from conviction and confrontation:
–YOU are a GOSSIP! (NO I’m not, I’m just trying to help.)
–YOU just LIED! (NO I didn’t, I just stretched the truth a little.)
–YOU STOLE that! (NO I didn’t, I just borrowed it for a time.)
Much of Our Potential Falls By the Wayside with EXCUSES.
So much of what God wants to do in our lives, disappears with an explanation of why it can’t happen. It seems like the easy way out…the quick fix! And yet, JESUS is looking for the man or woman who will RISE ABOVE…excuses, the reasons, the exemptions and the justifications:
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
King David’s Anointing to RULE & REIGN.
1 Samuel 11 opens with David at home…he sees a woman bathing, request her, commits adultery with her, a baby is produced…thus begins the cover-up.
Bathsheba was the wife of one of David’s mighty men…so the king recalled the man home so he might sleep with his wife to cover…
Then king David sends him back into battle with orders to put him on the front lines…where he died. All of David’s detailed planning was to cover up…and for a time, all seemed to be going well. It seemed as if he had covered his sin and continuing to RULE & REIGN; giving leadership and judgement in Israel as if nothing had happened.
Then suddenly and seemingly…out of nowhere, NATHAN shows up!
It’s EASY to become angry and judgmental at other people’s misgivings (sins) and very explanatory of our own. That’s where the apostle Paul is in his opening of Romans 2…
He’s addressing the MORALIST, the person who thinks he’s okay with God. Comparing himself with others, even though the Bible teaches us…
“Not that we [have the audacity to] venture to class or [even to] compare ourselves with some who exalt and furnish testimonials for themselves! However, when they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely” (2 Corinthians 10:12 AMP).
Truly the MORALIST lives in a mist of hypocrisy.
NO ESCAPING GOD’S JUDGEMENT:
ROMANS 2:1-3: [v.1] “THEREFORE YOU have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing a judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce]. [v.2] [But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things. [v.3] And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s judgement and elude His sentence and adverse verdict?”
ROMANS 1 ended with a list of horrendous sins and yet it’s easy to look at them and the sinners that commit them… But ROMANS 1:32 isn’t the KEY…because the ISSUE is not just outward, but it’s really inward! You don’t have to do them personally in order to be guilty of them…all you really need to do is to APPROVE THEM!
This is where Christianity meets the HEART of a person. It’s all about our own hearts; what we approve of (movies, television, homosexuality, politics, etc.). “IT’S OKAY, I’M OKAY” philosophy. “Society is okay with it, so I am too.”
THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD:
Notice ROMANS 2:2, it’s according to TRUTH! God’s judgment doesn’t come…democratically by a vote. God’s judgement doesn’t come…by popular opinions of the day. God’s judgement doesn’t come…to others and not us. It simply comes by TRUTH.
Denying Our Guiltiness.
In doing my investigation, in God’s Word this past week, I found 4 different ways that we conveniently AVOID our guilt:
#1. We simply IGNORE them. “I’m not guilty because…what I’m doing isn’t wrong.”
#2. We make EXCUSES by renaming our sins. The THIEF is now a borrower; the GOSSIPER is now a helper; “I’m not LEGALISTIC, I’m just living out my convictions!” (I know THAT excuse personally.)
#3. We are BLINDED toward many of our own faults; not aware of them. We don’t SEE in ourselves what we so easily pinpoint in others. We ALL have ‘blind-spots’.
#4. We quickly FORGET our wrongs. We may have been aware of our sins at one point, but we quickly assume we’re Christians…God loves us and He will forget and since He does forget, we’ll let it go too. That is not repentance!
TWO FINAL DESTINIES OF MAN (Romans 2:5-10):
So the person that thinks they are OK with God because they live a good, moral, and upright life…is that person you? If that’s what you think…you’re in TROUBLE! Why? Because it is not enough to be just good. We need to be PERFECTLY RIGHTEOUS before God! No security can be found in our GOOD WORKS, only in Jesus Christ.
Flip over in your bible to Romans 3:10:
“As it is written, None is righteous, just and truthful and upright and conscientious, no, not one.”
If you want to live by works, you’re gong to have to do it PERFECTLY. God wants us to REALIZE… we are spiritually bankrupt!
If you are MORALLY SAVED, then you must be PERFECTLY MORAL. But none of us, not one of us qualifies! So God intervened…He entered into our lives.
JESUS came into the world and God the Father punished Him for the wrongs that we did! The WAGES of sin and death…JESUS took that DEATH. The GIFT of GOD is eternal life through…Jesus Christ our Lord!
EVERY OTHER RELIGION ON THE PLANET…
They tell us to TRY HARDER, WORK MORE, SERVE MORE, GIVE MORE… Finally, you toss your hands up and say “I can’t do it anymore!”
The good news of the gospel is…? GOD DID IT FOR YOU! Jesus died and ROSE AGAIN from the grave and IF you put your FAITH, TRUST in Him, you don’t have to trust your MORALITY to save you. YOU ARE TRUSTING GOD to live His life through you!
“I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God. Who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20 AMP).
But if you REFUSE…your heart gets unrepentant…instead of drawing closer to God, you treasure up for yourself more and more wrath and one day that treasure box will be opened.
“ So be subject to God. Resist The devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.  Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts” (James 4:7-8).
The author of Hebrews describes believers as…
“But the just shall live by faith [My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it]; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him.  But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery and are utterly destroyed, but we are those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul” (Hebrews 10:38-39 AMP).
SO, THE 2 DESTINIES OF MAN ARE CLEAR:
#1. INDIGNATION; wrath, tribulation & anguish. OR…
#2. Glory, honor, and [heart] peace!
Those two destinies is why I saved verse 4 for last…
“Are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to REPENT (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will?”
Here we have a PATHWAY to REPENTANCE…to the open door of change, the opportunity to have a REAL LIFE…God’s goodness! I know that sometimes God gets a bad rap for being mean, distant, uninterested… but the Bible is clear, and in my own personal experience, I can attest to it…GOD IS GOOD! ALL THE TIME!
AND so how can we DESPISE GOD’S GOODNESS?
#1- We can DESPISE IT WHEN… God’s goodness is shown to others.
Our hearts become covetous & jealous seeing others BLESSED and we DESPISE God’s goodness in them and with those feelings, we are surely going to see fruitlessness in our own lives (Galatians 5:16-26)!
#2- We can DESPISE IT WHEN…God’s goodness is taken advantage of.
This is where we think God is asleep or winks at our own sins. And when judgement doesn’t come as we expected, hearts continue on the road to rebellion and rejection of God’s love.
“Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, the hearts of the sons of men are fully set to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11).
#3- We can DESPISE IT WHEN…God’s goodness is extended to others.
GOD’S LOVE & GRACE goes out even to the most hardened sinner. We can become impatient with God in demanding justice!
“TRULY GOD is [only] good to Israel, even those who are upright and pure in heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well-nigh slipped. For I was ENVIOUS of the foolish and arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:1-3 AMP).
#4- We can DESPISE IT WHEN…God’s goodness is ignored.
Sometimes things are so heavy and hurtful in our lives, we actually have the potential to turn against God in anger. “Why me Lord?”
Steps to Your Destination is Clear:
But the TRUTH IS that God’s goodness…(kindness & fairness); God’s forbearance…(temporary suspension of wrath); God’s longsuffering…(self-restraint, patience, putting up with); they are ALL tools that will lead you and I to REPENTANCE! Our Destiny Is Clear! STOP making EXCUSES on the way to your destination!