Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which are found in Rome. More specifically today’s passage is found in the second chapter of this New Testament book. “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemn east thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thickest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despises thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey righteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentle; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God. 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; (For not the hearest of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 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: 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;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Romans 2:1-16).
“Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will, and approvest things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confidence that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preach east a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written” (Romans 2:17-24).
“For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his circumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:25-29).
When you come to the second chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome you will come to something unique within it. Beginning with the eighteenth verse of the first chapter the apostle Paul concluded all men under sin. In fact if you read the words which are found within this epistle you will find that the first chapter wasn’t the only chapter where the apostle Paul concluded that all men were guilty of sin and found guilty in the sight of the living God. There is something within the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome that must be understood if we seek to truly grasp the incredible power of the salvation which he wrote and spoke about in versus sixteen and seventeen. It was in these two verses the apostle Paul emphatically declared that he was not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for he knew and understood that it was the power of God unto salvation—first to the Jews and then for the Gentile. Moreover the apostle Paul would also write how present within the gospel is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith for it was written that the just would live by faith. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous reality that is found within the heart and center of the gospel which the apostle Paul preached—and not only which the apostle Paul preached but also which the apostles Peter, James, John and the others preached. It is when you turn and direct your attention to the second, third, fourth and fifth chapters of the New Testament book of Acts you will find the account of the gospel which the apostle Peter and the other apostles preached after the day of Pentecost had fully come and they were all filled with Holy Spirit and spoke with tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the second, third, fourth and fifth chapters of the New Testament book of Acts for within these chapters you can and will encounter the incredible truth surrounding the gospel which the apostles preached beginning on the day of Pentecost. In fact, it was Jesus Himself who declared that they would receive power after that the Holy Ghost came upon them and they would be witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. It was Jesus who declared unto the disciples and His followers that John truly baptized with water but they would be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence—not many days after He had ascended unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the first five chapters of the New Testament book of Acts beginning with the first verse of the first chapter and the account of Jesus’ resurrection and the days leading up to His ascension unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven:
“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel: which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:1-14).
Here in the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we find the description of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the grave on the third day and a brief description of those forty days in which He showed Himself alive unto the apostles and the brethren with many infallible proofs. It would be during those forty days Jesus not only promised they would be baptized with the Holy Ghost but also declared how they would receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon them. Jesus would go on to declare how they would be witnesses both in Jerusalem, in all Judaea, in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth. It is when you come to the second chapter of this New Testament book you will not only find the account of the day of Pentecost but you will also find it coming ten days after Jesus ascended unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven. Jesus would show and demonstrate Himself alive over the next forty days after being raised from death to life on the third day and it would be on the fortieth day He would ascend unto the right hand of the Father—not only fulfilling the words He had spoken of HIs returning unto His Father but also providing a mystery and picture of the believer’s own ascension which they will experience when the dead in Christ are raised first and then those which are alive and remain will be caught up together to meet Him in the clouds. Moreover it would be in the ascension of the Lord Jesus we find the mystery of His return and coming again as was announced and proclaimed by the two angels who stood among those who were present at the mount called Olivet. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the opening verses of the second chapter concerning the day of Pentecost when it was fully come ten days after Jesus’ ascension unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven:
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one placed. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine” (Acts 2:1-13).
There is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within it we are brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the day of Pentecost when it was fully come. It would be on the day of Pentecost there would come a sound as of a rushing mighty wind that would fill the place where they were gathered together. Moreover there were cloven tongues of fire which rested upon them and not only were they all filled with the Holy Ghost but they would all speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. It would be the sound of these brethren speaking with the tongues of the nations that would garner the attention of the devout men from all the nations represented in the city of Jerusalem during those days. Some purposed that they were full of new wine and it was the apostle Peter who would stand up and declare unto them that they were not drunk with new wine as they supposed for it was but the third hour of the day. The apostle Peter would then first and foremost declare unto them that what they were witnessing and experiencing was the direct fulfillment of the words which the prophet Joel had spoken centuries and generations earlier concerning the Holy Spirit being poured out upon sons and daughters in the last days. The apostle Peter would declare unto them that what they were witnessing was the direct fulfillment of the prophetic word which Joel had spoken centuries earlier and would then preach unto them the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. With this in mind I now invite you to consider the following words which are found in the second, third, fourth and fifth chapters concerning the gospel which the apostle Peter together with the apostles preached unto the religious and political leaders which were present during those days:
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you buy miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also knowP Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be Holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; Moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:22-36).
“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:37-40).
“And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? Or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom Gods ath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must received until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:12-26).
“And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:7-12).
“But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man was above forty years old, whom this miracle of healing was shewed” (Acts 4:19-22).
“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew, and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him” (Acts 5:29-32).
There is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words which are found within these passages of Scripture for that which is contained within these verses brings us face to face with the beginning of the preaching of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ—first in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. It would be there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem the apostle Peter together with the other apostles would preach Jesus as both Christ and Lord. Moreover the apostles would also preach Jesus as the Son of the living God—and not only as the Son of the living God but also as having suffered in the flesh and being crucified upon a cruel Roman tree. The apostle Peter and the other apostles proclaimed that the religious and political leaders and rulers which were present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem delivered Jesus up into the hands of sinners to be scourged, to suffer in the flesh and ultimately to be killed and crucified. With this being said we must also recognize and understand that the apostles would further declare and proclaim concerning Jesus of Nazareth that although He was killed and crucified He would be raised from death to life on the third day. It would be on the third day the Lord Jesus Christ was raised from death to life and would show Himself alive with many infallible proofs over the next forty days. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the gospel which the apostles preached and how at the very heart of the gospel was the truth of Jesus having come in the flesh, having suffered in the flesh, having been crucified, having been buried in a borrowed tomb, having been raised from death to life on the third day and having ascended unto the right hand of the Father until He made His enemies His footstool.
This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the language which is found in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul. It would be within the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul we find him emphatically declaring that he was not ashamed of the gospel of God for he knew that it was the power of God unto salvation—to the Jew first and then unto the Gentile. The apostle Paul would also declare that within the gospel of God the righteousness of God was revealed from faith to faith as it was written saying, “The just shall live by faith.” Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the gospel which the apostle Paul preached and how within the gospel was the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith. What makes this all the more intriguing when you think about it is that while the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith it also places men and women squarely in the place where they desperately needed a Saviour. The more you read and study the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ the more you can and will be brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the righteousness of God which is in direct comparison and contrast with the wickedness that is present in the world. It is something worth noting and pointing out when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for immediately after declaring that the righteousness of God was revealed from faith to faith the apostle Paul would also conclude all men under sin and being guilty according to the law. Not only this but the apostle Paul would also declare that men are and have been without excuse because of the revelation of the divine power and nature of the Godhead which is manifested in the midst of the earth. Having said this I call your attention to the following words which are found in the first chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome beginning with the eighteenth verse:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness: Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the thing that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:18-25).
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against the nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despitefully, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:26-32).
Please don’t miss the incredible importance of what is presented in the first chapter for within it we are brought face to face with the incredible reality that the wrath of God was revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Moreover the apostle Paul would go on to declare that how the wrath of God was revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness because that which may be known of God is manifest in them for God had showed it unto them. The apostle Paul would further go on to declare that the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the thing that are made—even his enteral power and Godhead—so that men is without excuse. The apostle Paul would then Go on to declare concerning men that when they knew God they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened. In addition to those the apostle Paul would go on to write how they professed themselves to be wise and instead became fools and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts and creeping things. This is something we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words presented in this passage of Scripture for the apostle Paul would conclude all men as being under sin and being guilty in the sight of the eternal and living God. The apostle Paul would indeed declare unto the Romans that men is without excuse because the invisible things of God are clearly seen and clearly revealed within and through creation and everything that has been made from the beginning of the creation.
If you continue reading the words which are found in the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome you will find that he concluded that all men were indeed guilty before and in the sight of the living God. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that the law was given that men might be found guilty in response to it—and not only guilty of it but also that they might be brought face to face with the reality that they could not meet, nor fulfill nor fully obey that which was contained within it. When writing unto the churches which were in Galatia the apostle Paul would declare that the law was given to be a schoolmaster teaching men and women that they were indeed guilty and in need of a Savior. If there is one thing the Law demonstrates and reveals it’s that we not only need a Savior but we also need redemption, forgiveness, righteousness and justification. It was the apostle Paul who declared that Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness for the righteousness that is needed within our hearts and lives comes only from the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is when we come to the third chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome we find the apostle Paul further concluding men as being guilty of sin in the sight and presence of the living God. It would be the apostle Paul who would indeed declare unto the saints which were at Rome that they were guilty of violating the Law and the covenant before and in the sight of the living God and it would be in response to this they be in desperate need of a Redeemer and Savior. It was Job who emphatically declared that he knew that his redeemer lived and we must needs recognize and understand that our Redeemer lives, still lives and will always live for the rest of time and for all eternity. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the third chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome beginning with the ninth verse:
“What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there Is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped,a nd all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:9-20).
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make voice the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:21-31).
Consider if you will the following words which are found in the second chapter of the epistle written unto the churches which were in Galatia beginning with the fourteenth verse of the second chapter:
“But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, if thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I l I’ve; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:14-21).
Consider also the following words which are found in the third chapter of the same epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the churches which were in Galatia beginning with the nineteenth verse of the third chapter:
“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our school master to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:19-29)
Consider if you will the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Philippi beginning with the first verse of the third chapter:
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them by dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, where to we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing” (Philippians 3:1-16).
If you read the epistles and writings of the apostle Paul you will notice his continued contrast between Jews and Greeks—and not so much his contrast between Jews and Greeks but rather his comparison between the two. Upon reading the words which are found within the writings of this apostle you will find there are absolutely no differences between the Jews and the Gentiles for “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” What’s more is both within the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome as well as the epistle which was written unto the churches which were in Galatia you will find the apostle Paul concluding both the Jew and the Gentile under sin and having committed an offense in the sight of the living God. It would be in the first chapter of this epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome the apostle Paul would speak of the wrath of God which was revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and all ungodliness. The apostle Paul would further declare that all men were without excused in the sight and presence of the living God for all men have committed treason and offense in the sight of, in the presence of and against the one true and living God. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for when we come to the second chapter of this same epistle we find the apostle Paul writing and speaking directly unto the Jews. Perhaps one of the greatest truths which we must needs recognize when reading the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome was that there were indeed Jews which were present in the midst of the city. I know that Aquila and his wife Priscilla were forced out of Italy at one point and would migrate unto Corinth, however, it must be understood when reading the words which are found in the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome that there were both Jews and Gentiles present in the midst of the congregation. This is precisely why the apostle Paul would indeed declare unto them there was no difference between Jew and Gentile for all have been found guilty in the sight of the living God.
What we find in the second chapter of this epistle, however, is something truly necessary for us as the disciples of Jesus Christ and as the saints of God. If you take the time to read and study the words which are found in the second chapter of this epistle you will find the apostle Paul writing unto those who would seek to sit in the seat of judgment against others. The apostle Paul would undoubtedly be incredibly familiar with what this looked and sounded like having come up studying under Gamaliel and having himself been a Pharisee. Undoubtedly the apostle Paul would have been aware of the scribes, the Pharisees and the religious leaders who would not only sit in the seat of judgment but also how they considered themselves as being holier and more righteous than others. Time and time again within and throughout the four gospels you will find the scribes, the Pharisees and the religious leaders boasting of their own righteousness—a righteousness which was of the Law. In fact it would be in the fifteenth and twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we find powerful pictures of the religious leaders—the scribes and the Pharisees among others—who would sit in Moses’ seat of judgment and would themselves cast judgment upon those which were present during those days. Time and time again the scribes and the Pharisees would seek to condemn and indict Jesus and hIs disciples for somehow not obeying and adhering to their rules, their traditions and even unto the Law. Time and time again the scribes and the Pharisees—even the Jews themselves—would be offended with Jesus because He seemed to show no regard for the sabbath day. This is something we must needs recognize and understand when reading the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome for within it he rebukes and indicts those who would seek to sit in the seat of judgment casting judgment against and upon others.
If you want to truly understand the words which are found in the second chapter of the epistle written by the apostle I am convinced there is a great need for us to recognize and consider the following words which are found in the fifteenth and twenty-third chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. It is within these chapters we encounter and are brought face to face with the absolutely astounding and remarkable truth surrounding the scribes and the Pharisees and how they would not only seek to sit in the seat of judgment but would continually judge, condemn and rebuke Jesus, the disciples and even those who were present during the days in which Jesus walked upon the earth. I would also like to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the eighteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke before returning to the second chapter of this epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome:
“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread? But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people drawers nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:1-9).
“And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my Heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man” (Matthew 15:10-20).
“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatosever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do n ot ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ: and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widows’ houses, and for a presence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselye, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew 23:1-15).
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the wieghtier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisees, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, b it within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell” (Matthew 15:23-33).
“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I Tashana thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be based; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14).
Upon returning to the second chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Ephesus you will find him emphatically declaring that those who were part of his audience were inexcusable. The apostle Paul would speak of that one who judges another and instead condemns themselves because when they judge another person they themselves do the very same things. The apostle Paul would then go on to write that he was sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. The apostle Paul goes on to write and ask the question of that one who would read these words if they thought they which judges another and does the very same thing they judged them for would or even could escape the judgment of God. Not only this but the apostle Paul would also ask his readers and audience if they despised the riches of the goodness and forbearance and longsuffering not knowing that the goodness of God leads men to repentance. Oh this is something we must needs recognize and understand for when we read these words we encounter the apostle Paul indicting those who would seek to sit in the seat of judgment against others and yet they themselves do the very same things they judged others for. The apostle Paul would indeed conclude all men as being guilty in the sight of God for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The apostle Paul would indeed concluded all men under sin and therefore stood guilty in the sight of the living God. What we find in the second chapter, however, are those who would be so self-absorbed, so self-righteous and so caught up within themselves that they place themselves on a pedestal and from that pedestal think and even believe they can judge others while they themselves are somehow immune to the very same judgment which they would pass against and upon others. It was this particular truth which we find in the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew when Jesus would indict the scribes and Pharisees for sitting in the seat of judgment which Moses sat in and judged others while they themselves were unclean, ungodly and unrighteous.
I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the second chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome and how the apostle Paul drew no distinction between Jew or Gentile. For the apostle Paul it mattered not whether you were circumcised or uncircumcised for all stood the same way before the one true and living God. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for when we approach the second chapter of this epistle we find the apostle Paul once more declaring unto those to whom he was writing that they were indeed without excuse. In the second chapter the apostle Paul emphatically declares that they were without excuse who judges another while they themselves do the very same things they judge others for. That which the apostle Paul writes in this passage of Scripture is indeed centered upon the reality of both legalism and hypocrisy—hypocrisy of which is the greater of the two subjects in this passage. The apostle Paul—when writing the words present within this chapter—was clear to declare unto his readers and audience that they ought not and must not seek to sit in the seat of Moses and judge others while they themselves also stand guilty in the sight of God for doing the very same things. In all reality the words which the apostle Paul wrote in this particular passage have their foundation in that which our Lord Himself spoke when delivering His Sermon on the Mount. In fact it is when you come to the New Testament gospel narratives written by the apostle Matthew as well as the beloved physician Luke you can and will be brought face to face with the tremendous and incredible reality of the inherent and toxic danger of judging others while we ourselves deliberately, willfully and intentionally choose to ignore the sin, the lawlessness, the wickedness, the idolatry, the immorality and the rebellion that is present within our own hearts and lives. I am absolutely convinced we must needs consider these words for they help us to further understand the tremendous dangers that surround sitting in the seat of judgment against others while we ourselves commit the very same things we would dare judge others on. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew as well as the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke:
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but consider east not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).
“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which. Love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also love those that love them. And if ye doo good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? For sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:27-38).
“And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceives not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. For a good tree bringeth not forth a corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the vil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:39-45).
It is absolutely necessary we recognize and pay attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it brings us face to face with the tremendous danger of judging others while we ourselves stand guilty of doing the very same thing. It is within the Sermon on the Mount Jesus emphatically instructed and commanded His disciples and followers to forgive others from the heart that they themselves might be forgiven of their Father in heaven. With this being said we must needs recognize that we as the disciples and followers of Jesus have been called to forgive from the heart that we might be forgiven of the Father in heaven while at the same time refusing to judge others while we ourselves are guilty of the very same thing we seek to judge in the lives of others. In all reality I would dare say there is something about judging others that is intrinsically and inherently linked and connected to refusing to forgive someone for somehow or allegedly committing a wrong against us and even refusing to love our enemies. I would dare say and suggest that those who seek to sit in the seat of judgment and judge others while they themselves are guilty of the very same things are the very same ones who might very well live their lives without the ability and willingness to forgive others as well as without the ability to love their enemies.
With all of this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call your attention to the words which we see in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written by James. It is in the second chapter of the epistle written by James we encounter the incredible truth surrounding the judgment that exists within our own heart—and not only judgment but how judgment can take the form of legalism and hypocrisy as well as in the form of narcissism and cynicism. If we are truly willing to be honest with ourselves we must needs recognize and that it is very possible for us to be guilty of judgment which has at the very heart of it legalism and hypocrisy as well as judgment which has at the very heart of it cynicism and narcissism. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it is for there might very well be a need for us to take an honest look at our hearts and recognize whether we are judging others based on perceived “sin” and “unrighteousness” which we think we see in them or whether we are judging others based on personal preference, based on outward appearance and the like. The apostle Paul indeed wrote about judgment in terms of legalism, religion and hypocrisy, however, it would be James who would write of a different form of judgment—one that is steeped in a heightened sense of prestige and honor we bestow upon ourselves. I am firmly convinced that we as the saints of God must needs recognize and understand that there is absolutely no room for either form of judgment within our hearts and lives and that when we attempt to and think we can sit in the seat of Moses and judge others we forget that there is a higher seat and throne than one we think we are permitted to sit in before which we must needs give ourselves an account. In all reality I would dare say that if we want to live our lives free from judgment of, towards and against others we must needs live our lives before the throne of God which is present within heaven. Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written by James beginning with the first verse:
“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: but if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (James 2:1-13).
It is quite clear when reading the words which James wrote that he not only spoke of judgment which has at the very heart and center of it narcissism and cynicism but he also wrote of the judgment which has at the very heart of it legalism, religion and hypocrisy. What’s more is that James also wrote within this second chapter concerning the sin of partiality and favoritism—both of which have absolutely no place within the heart and life of one who professes allegiance to the name and person of Jesus who is both Christ and Lord. With this being said I find it absolutely necessary to declare that if we wish to live our lives completely and utterly delivered and set free from setting ourselves up in the seat of Moses and casting judgment against others we must needs recognize that there is a seat and a throne that is higher than any we think we can and are able to sit upon. There is not a doubt in my mind that we as the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ must needs be those who continually live our lives before the throne which is in heaven—that throne which stands above all the thrones of the earth and far above any throne we attempt to create ourselves and even sit upon. I firmly believe that if we wish to deliver ourselves from these forms of judgment we must recognize that we too are without excuse and that we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Moreover we must needs recognize that the ground at the cross is level and that the ground before the throne of the living God is indeed level for all who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus. It is with this in mind I leave you with the following words which are found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ beginning with the first verse:
“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:1-11).