Romans 2

1 Therefore you are without excuse, O man, whoever you are who judge. For in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself. For you who judge practice the same things. 2 We know that the judgement of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 Do you think this, O man who judges those who practice such things, and do the same, that you will escape the judgement of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and patience, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But according to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath, revelation, and of the righteous judgement of God; 6 who “will pay back to everyone according to their works:” 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory, honor, and incorruptibility, eternal life; 8 but to those who are self-seeking, and don’t obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, will be wrath and indignation, 9 oppression and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 10 But glory, honor, and peace go to every man who does good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without the law. As many as have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it isn’t the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be justified 14 (for when Gentiles who don’t have the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience testifying with them, and their thoughts amongst themselves accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men, according to my Good News, by Jesus Christ. 17 Indeed you bear the name of a Jew, and rest on the law, and glory in God, 18 and know his will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide of the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of babies, having in the law the form of knowledge and of the truth. 21 You therefore who teach another, don’t you teach yourself? You who preach that a man shouldn’t steal, do you steal? 22 You who say a man shouldn’t commit adultery. Do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who glory in the law, through your disobedience of the law do you dishonor God? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed amongst the Gentiles because of you,” just as it is written. 25 For circumcision indeed profits, if you are a doer of the law, but if you are a transgressor of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 If therefore the uncircumcised keep the ordinances of the law, won’t his uncircumcision be accounted as circumcision? 27 Won’t the uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfills the law, judge you, who with the letter and circumcision are a transgressor of the law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not from men, but from God.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–16

The Jews thought themselves a holy people, entitled to their privileges by right, while they were unthankful, rebellious, and unrighteous. But all who act thus, of every nation, age, and description, must be reminded that the judgment of God will be according to their real character. The case is so plain, that we may appeal to the sinner’s own thoughts. In every wilful sin, there is contempt of the goodness of God. And though the branches of man’s disobedience are very various, all spring from the same root. But in true repentance, there must be hatred of former sinfulness, from a change wrought in the state of the mind, which disposes it to choose the good and to refuse the evil. It shows also a sense of inward wretchedness. Such is the great change wrought in repentance, it is conversion, and is needed by every human being. The ruin of sinners is their walking after a hard and impenitent heart. Their sinful doings are expressed by the strong words, “treasuring up wrath.” In the description of the just man, notice the full demand of the law. It demands that the motives shall be pure, and rejects all actions from earthly ambition or ends. In the description of the unrighteous, contention is held forth as the principle of all evil. The human will is in a state of enmity against God. Even Gentiles, who had not the written law, had that within, which directed them what to do by the light of nature. Conscience is a witness, and first or last will bear witness. As they nature. Conscience is a witness, and first or last will bear witness. As they kept or broke these natural laws and dictates, their consciences either acquitted or condemned them. Nothing speaks more terror to sinners, and more comfort to saints, than that Christ shall be the Judge. Secret services shall be rewarded, secret sins shall be then punished, and brought to light.

Verses 17–24

The apostle directs his discourse to the Jews, and shows of what sins they were guilty, notwithstanding their profession and vain pretensions. A believing, humble, thankful glorying in God, is the root and sum of all religion. But proud, vain-glorious boasting in God, and in the outward profession of his name, is the root and sum of all hypocrisy. Spiritual pride is the most dangerous of all kinds of pride. A great evil of the sins professors is, the dishonour done to God and religion, by their not living according to their profession. Many despise their more ignorant neighbours who rest in a dead form of godliness; yet themselves trust in a form of knowledge, equally void of life and power, while some glory in the gospel, whose unholy lives dishonour God, and cause his name to be blasphemed.

Verses 25–29

No forms, ordinances, or notions can profit, without regenerating grace, which will always lead to seeking an interest in the righteousness of God by faith. For he is no more a Christian now, than he was really a Jew of old, who is only one outwardly: neither is that baptism, which is outward in the flesh: but he is the real Christian, who is inwardly a true believer, with an obedient faith. And the true baptism is that of the heart, by the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Ghost; bringing a spiritual frame of mind, and a willing following of truth in its holy ways. Let us pray that we may be made real Christians, not outwardly, but inwardly; in the heart and spirit, not in the letter; baptized, not with water only, but with the Holy Ghost; and let our praise be, not of men, but of God.

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