The Universal Nature of God’s Judgment

Dustin Folden January 26, 2020 Romans 2:1-16
Outline

“The modern habit throughout the Christian church is to play this subject down. Those who still believe in the wrath of God (not all do) say little about it; perhaps they do not think much about it. To an age which has unashamedly sold itself to the gods of greed, pride, sex and self-will, the church mumbles on about God's kindness but says virtually nothing about his judgment...The fact is that the subject of divine wrath has become taboo in modern society, and Christians by and large have accepted the taboo and conditioned themselves never to raise the matter.” J.I. Packer, Knowing God, Intervarsity Press, 1973, pg 148-149

Hebrews 9:27 - And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment…

2 Timothy 4:1 - I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom…

Mark 10:17 - As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Mark 10:18 - And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.”

Mark 10:19 - You know the commandments, “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.”

Galatians 3:24 - …therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

Mark 10:20 - And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”

Mark 10:21 - Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Mark 10:22 - But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

Psalm 119:165 - Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.

Romans 1:21 - For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Romans 1:24 - Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.

Romans 1:32 - …and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

3 principles to help us understand the judgment of God

I. No One Will Escape God’s Just Judgment on Their Own – 2:1-5

A. God’s standard is His truth, not man’s wrongful comparison to others

Luke 18:9-14 - And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Romans 2:1 - …you who judge practice the same things…

Romans 2:3 - But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself…

Matthew 5:48 - Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Romans 2:1 - Therefore, you have no excuse…

Romans 2:3 - But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

2 Corinthians 10:12 - …they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.

Psalm 51:4 - Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge.

B. Do not despise God’s patience

Romans 2:4 - Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

kataphronew – to look down upon, to underestimate an items true value

“There is in every willful sin a contempt for the goodness of God.” Matthew Henry

C. Failing to repent and trust the gospel is treasuring up wrath

Romans 2:5 - But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God…

Hebrews 10:30-31 - For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

John 3:16-19 - For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

II. God Saves on the Basis of Faith but Judges on the Basis of Works

Romans 2:6 - …who will render to each person according to his deeds…

Romans 2:11 - For there is no partiality with God.

A. God’s impartiality is a two-edged sword

1. Salvation for all who believe

2. Judgment for those who reject the gospel

“Tell me not of your justification, unless you have some marks of sanctification. Boast not of Christ’s work for you, unless you can show us the Spirit’s work in you.” J.C. Ryle

B. Saving faith always produces good works

Ephesians 2:8-10 - For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

C. The lack of genuine good works produced through faith in Christ will be the basis of God’s just judgment

Revelation 20:11-15 - Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

III. God Will Ultimately Judge the Secrets of a Man’s Heart

A. Including those who “sinned under the law”

Romans 2:12 - …all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law…

B. Including those who sinned “without the law”

Romans 2:12 - For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law…

1. because an innate sense of right from wrong reveals what God has written on everyone’s heart – v. 14

2. because God gave everyone a conscience to point us to Him – v. 15

Romans 2:16 - …on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

Romans 1:16-17 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

- In his seminal book Knowing God, theologian J.I. Packer wrote regarding the topic of God’s judgment…The modern habit throughout the Christian church is to play this subject down. Those who still believe in the wrath of God (not all do) say little about it; perhaps they do not think much about it. To an age which has unashamedly sold itself to the gods of greed, pride, sex and self-will, the church mumbles on about God's kindness but says virtually nothing about his judgment...The fact is that the subject of divine wrath has become taboo in modern society, and Christians by and large have accepted the taboo and conditioned themselves never to raise the matter.” Knowing God , J.I. Packer, Intervarsity Press, 1973, pg 148-149

- and please notice – Packer wrote those words 47 years ago…

- that’s curious when you think about it for even a moment…because perhaps the most important question a human being could ponder is whether or not they are prepared to meet God…to face His judgment (if in fact you believe such an event will occur)…

- it’s also curious because even a cursory reading of the Bible affirms the absolute certainty of final judgment…

- for example, the writer of Hebrews said…Hebrews 9:27 - And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment…

- or as Paul explained to Timothy - 2 Timothy 4:1 - I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:

- it would seem that if churches were going to do anything right – it would be to be sure that we were preparing as many people in our congregations and our communities as possible to be best prepared to give a good account for the judgment that is to come…

- that’s why Paul “solemnly charged” Timothy about this “in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus”…

- churches ought to be talking about this on a regular basis, and with great theological precision…

- and that’s part of the challenge too…because even when Christians do raise this subject…it’s not always done well…

- Pastor Brad Bigney who serves at a church in KY and often speaks at our counseling events told about a Children’s Study Bible that was discussing Matthew chapter 3 where Jesus is separating the wheat from the chaff…

- and the footnote said – This means that Jesus will come to separate the good people from the bad people, saving the good and punishing the bad…”

- now please think about that for a moment…is that the gospel?...that good people will go to heaven and bad people won’t?...

- so, the way you prepare to face God’s judgment is to seek to be a good person?...

- that’s rank moralism…where the truth about the depravity of man (there are no inherently “good people”) and the corresponding message of the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and man’s need to come to Christ in repentance and faith is nowhere to be found…

- that view will not prepare anyone to face the righteous judgment of a holy God…yet, it is very easy to be caught up in that…

- so, parents tell their children…just be a good boy, just be a good boy…why can’t you be more like your older brother…don’t make mommy and daddy look bad…

- and you might say – what’s wrong with that?...Jesus is nowhere to be found…the gospel is absent from the conversation…

- and you could respond with – well, then fine – I’ll start telling my child to be a bad boy, and I think I’ll drop him off at your office for an afternoon…

- we have to help our children understand that the reason we all struggle with being good is because of the presence of sin in our hearts…and what we need the most is a Savior who can cleanse us of our sin and give us His righteousness…and then we can start learning to grow in right behavior…in and through His strength and power…

- you may remember the man who came to Jesus in Mark 10…it was a fascinating interchange…Mark 10:17 - As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

- what a great thing huh…he’s kneeling, he’s calling Jesus good, he wants to know what he can do to inherit eternal life…

- was it a great thing – was this man about to become a follower of Christ?...

- do you remember what Jesus said next…Mark 10:18 - And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

- in other words – you don’t believe I’m God…you don’t believe I’m the Savior of the world, because you don’t believe you need a Savior…or else you wouldn’t have been asking what you can do to inherit eternal life…

- see – this man believed he was a good boy…so Jesus went on to say…

- Mark 10:19 - You know the commandments, “Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.”

- not because the 10 commandments were given so someone could perfectly keep them and attain righteousness before God…but like Paul told the Galatians…Galatians 3:24 - therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

- so, what should the man have said to Christ’s reference to the law?...something like, “but I could never keep them perfectly…I’m not that good…I need righteousness from outside myself…but what did the man say?... Mark 10:20 - And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”

- in other words – I’m a really good boy…if anyone is prepared for God’s judgment, it’s me…

- Jesus’ next words cut right to the heart of the issue…

- Mark 10:21 - Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

- not because if you do this – you’ll earn eternal life…

- but to help him understand – you haven’t kept the 10 commandments perfectly, no one has – so let’s focus on “thou shalt not covet” for a moment…you’re not a good boy…you’re a bad one…because all human beings are…

- you don’t need to be thinking about what you can do to inherit eternal life…

- you need to be coming to me as the promised Savior, the good Son of God, who can forgive your sin and give you a righteous stand before God that you could never attain on your own…as a free gift of grace you receive through faith…

- and the text ends on such a sad but instructive note…Mark 10:22 - But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

- there’s no question that churches rarely speak about the judgment of God…and when they do, sometimes (often) what is said lacks the kind of theological precision necessary to bring about true conversion and genuine new life…

- the next section of the book of Romans fires a laser guided missile at the error of moralism…one of the largest spiritual problems in communities like ours…and its that to which we turn our attention today…

- with that in mind, please open your Bible to Romans chapter 2…

- our church’s theme this year is Celebrating God’s Truth…we understand that we live in a world that wants to shame and silence the people of God…as one speaker from Li’Bri observed—to the world, the church of Jesus Christ is no longer just annoyingly good – it’s destructively wicked…and those who choose to believe and live out God’s Word should be given the stink eye… a look expressing annoyance, resentment, or disapproval…

- and the statistics would suggest that many of the so-called people of God are caving into that at a rather dramatic rate…many Americans don’t want the pressure that comes with that at work, with their extended family, or their neighbors…

- and churches like ours have to decide what we’re going to do about that…

- and our answer is – we’re not going to be mad, or harshly judgmental – but nor are we going to be ashamed or silence…we’re going to throw a party…

- where we give careful attention to our doctrine by having a verse-by-verse exposition this year of the most doctrinally robust book in the NT coupled with a study of our church’s doctrinal statement in many of our ABF’s and small groups…

- we want everyone associated with our church family to know what we believe and why we believe it…so we can rejoice with the Psalmist who said - Psalm 119:165 - Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.

- we far we have met two very distinct groups of people in the book of Romans…of the four groups Paul will describe in these early chapters…

- first of all are those who have been saved by the gospel of Jesus Christ – they admitted their sin and placed their faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ…their stand before God is in Christ’s righteousness, not their own…and the holiness they are now developing is in and through His strength and power…and they humbly and thankfully and joyfully know that to be the case…

- it was true of Paul himself in the first verses of the book…and then of the men and women in the church of Rome who were saints – saved ones by the power of the gospel…

- then in the second half of chapter one, we met the second group -- people who are immoral…

- even though God has revealed Himself in their consciences, and in creation, and in the gospel…these are people who choose to suppress the revelation they’ve been given…

- so we read those haunting words in verse 21 - Romans 1:21 - For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

- and Paul explains – God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven on such persons who choose to suppress His truth in this way…and so because mankind repeatedly exchanges God’s truth for the lies of the world and their own hearts…God does something that is absolutely haunting in His wrath…

- He gives them up…He removes His restraint…he lets them go their way…

- Romans 1:24 - Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.

- and the rest of the passage is both horrifying and shockingly relevant to the day and age in which we live…

- and the chapter ends by affirming -- Romans 1:32 - and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

- so that’s 2 of the four categories of persons discussed in the early chapters of the book of Romans…those who have been saved by the gospel of Jesus Christ and those who are immoral…

- but please think about this – how would the Rich Young Ruler we discussed in the introduction have responded to this part of the story?…probably by tapping his foot…

- yes, such immoral individuals like that deserve the wrath of God…

- if He’s just and holy, such blatant unbelief has to be punished…I’m sure glad I’m not like that…I’m a good boy…

- and I wonder how many people in our community might think the exact same thing?...

- and I wonder how many who will hear this message today are in the same boat – either because they have drawn that conclusion about themselves and adopted a self-righteous moralistic view of life that keeps them from repenting and embracing the gospel themselves…

- or wrongly analyzing others around us and failing to have the passion for faithfully sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ the Lord has placed around us…

- there are many different ways of being ashamed of the gospel – and having a wrong evaluation of the nature of man can easily lead to shame by omission…

- let’s read what Paul says about that…read Romans 2:1-16

- we’re talking this am about The Universal Nature of God’s Judgment

- and with the time we have remaining, let’s think about 3 principles to help us understand the judgment of God.

I. No One Will Escape God’s Just Judgment on Their Own – 2:1-5

- it’s very easy to do what these verses are describing, isn’t it?...

- have you ever heard an older person talk about “all those old people”…

- [no pointing fingers on that one…]…and Paul explains:

A. God’s standard is his truth, not man’s wrongful comparison to others.

- Does this remind you of the story Jesus told in - Luke 18:9–14 - And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

- that’s the third category of persons Paul discusses in the book of Romans…

- it’s not just the immoral of Romans 1:18-32 who are lost and under the just wrath of God…but the moral of Romans 2:1-16 as well…

- and did you see the logic in Romans 2:1 - you who judge practice the same things…

- then again in verse 3… Romans 2:3 - But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself…

- if you’re in the habit of writing in your Bible…you could draw a circle around those 2 phrases in chapter 2, and then draw a line up to verses 29-31 of chapter 1 and circle those…

- [read vs. 29-31]…see, is there anyone who could say – I’ve never been greedy, I’ve never been envious, I’ve never told a lie…

- and if the response is – but that immoral person is way more envious than me…way more greedy…that’s why they’re bad and I’m good…because I’m better than them…

- do you see the problem…the moral person is using the wrong standard…that’s why Jesus explained on the Sermon on the Mount…Matthew 5:48 - Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

- that’s why Paul says to the judgmental, moral person who believes he can earn righteousness before God on the basis of his own deeds…

- Romans 2:1 – Therefore, you have no excuse…

- Romans 2:3 - But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

- and I would just pause and ask every person here this morning – are you sure you’ve used the right standard in evaluating yourself?...I have no doubt that you can find other people in your life who are behaviorally worse than you…but have you used that incorrect standard/method of judgment as a way of concluding that you do not need a Savior?...

- it’s like the pastor who served in a small town that had two wealthy brothers who were in business for themselves and were known all around the community for being dishonest in their business dealings, and wicked, and vile in all sorts of ways…

- certainly never darkened the door of this man’s church and had nothing but curses on their lips and disdain for the Lord each and every day

- then one of the brothers died…and his surviving brother asked to meet with this pastor…

- and said – pastor, I’ll make you a deal, I’d like you to preach my brother’s funeral, and I’ll give your church a million dollars to fund any project you like on one condition…you have to tell the audience that my brother was a saint…

- well, word got around that small town very quickly about the offer and everyone wondered if the pastor would do what the man requested…

- after all that million dollars could go to replace the church’s roof, and fund all sorts of important mission work around the world…

- and sure enough – the pastor agreed – which disappointed some but that was a lot of money for the church…

- so the day came for the funeral…everyone in the town turned out…

- the deceased brother was laid out in the casket in his Sunday best…the surviving brother was seated on the front row…

- and the pastor said – everyone in this town that this deceased man was evil, and wicked, and dishonest…he hurt many of you because of his unfair business dealings all his days…

- and of course the surviving brother was in shock that the pastor was going to give up all that money…

- but then the pastor pointed at the surviving brother and said – but compared to this wicked brother of his…this deceased man was a saint…

- and that’s the problem…Paul alluded to that in 2 Corinthians 10:12 – when he spoke of people who…they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.

- a better approach is David in …Psalm 51:4 - Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge.

- Paul goes on in verse 4 to say…

B. Do not despise God’s patience

- Romans 2:4 - Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

- and you might say – how does that fit into the argument?...

- what is one of the fundamental reasons a moral person might be somewhat behaviorally superior to an openly immoral person?...

- because God has not yet removed his restraining hand to the same degree yet…

- it a moral person has not been fully judged yet – it’s not because of their innate goodness, it’s person of God’s kindness and tolerance and patience…

- and why would God choose to treat a moral person in that fashion?...(with that kind of kindness, and tolerance, and patience) – what does the verse say?...

- to lead you to repentance…to lead you to the gospel…

- and when a moral person chooses to become self-righteous instead…what is he doing?...

- kataphronew – to look down upon, to underestimate an items true value

- Matthew Henry – There is in every willful sin a contempt for the goodness of God.

[If time, could use D.A. Carson’s illustration – quoted by Brad Bigney]

- and friend, according to verse 5 – how bad is it for the moral person to fail to respond to God’s goodness by repenting and coming to Christ?...

C. Failing to repent and trust the gospel is treasuring up wrath.

- Romans 2:5 - But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

- this is why it is so important for us to talk much about the gospel…

- if someone commends us for something good we might be doing – however and whenever appropriate, we have to deflect the credit to the Savior who gave us his righteousness and is working in and through us through the power of the gospel…

- this is why it is so important for us to love our moral friends and neighbors enough to point out the logical inconsistency of moralism…do we really believe…

- Hebrews 10:30–31 - For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

- I realize that some might listen to these messages and say – boy, we just need more about the love of God around here…please do not believe that the doctrines of God’s love and God’s judgement are somehow incompatible…the exact opposite is the case… John 3:16–19 - “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

- now, there are some other important issues in Romans 2 we need to be sure we understand clearly…we could summarize verses 6-11 like this…

II. God Saves on the Basis of Faith but Judges on the Basis of Works

- what Paul said in verse 6 might have surprised you a bit…

- Romans 2:6 - who will render to each person according to his deeds:

- this is one of the things we can/should love about the book of Romans…it stretches us theologically…and clarifies and sharpens our understanding of the gospel…

- one of the problems with the moralist is that he wants God to judge some people and not others…or at least judge bad people, but not him…

- that’s where verse 11 fits into this…

- Romans 2:11 - For there is no partiality with God.

A. God’s impartiality is a 2-edged sword

- in other words, its both good news and bad news…

1. Salvation for all who believe

- this is another one of those – draw circles and lines in your Bible moments…

- draw a circle around Romans 2:11 – and then a line back to Romans 1:14 and 1:16 and circle the words “to Greeks and barbarians” in verse 14 and “to the Jew first and also to the Greek” in verse 16

- and praise God that is true – there is no one here today who could not choose to repent and believe in Christ…

- it starts with acknowledging – I’m not a good person, not if God’s perfect holiness is the standard…but I can have a good Savior…and there’s nothing you could put on the table about your past that would disqualify you from this truth

2. Judgment for those who reject the gospel

- so because you don’t have enough lines in your Bible yet…you could back to Romans 2:11 – maybe with a different color ink – and circle it again – there’s no partiality with God…and then draw a line to 2:1 – “you have no excuse”…and the entirety of verse 2:3…

- and aren’t you glad for a judge who is entirely impartial?...[think about that in light of what is occurring in our country – impartiality is illusive…]

- now you might say – how can I know if I have truly come to Christ in repentance and faith?...because of the presence of good works that only He can produce in and through you, and that generate humility as you see him working in you instead of self-righteousness as if you’ve achieved such results on your own…

- theologian J.C. Ryle said – “Tell me not of your justification, unless you have some marks of sanctification. Boast not of Christ’s work for you, unless you can show us the Spirit’s work in you.”

- that’s because…

B. Saving faith always produces good works

- Ephesians 2:8–10 - For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

- if time allowed, we could even look at that more extensively in…cf. James 2:14-26

- and I know what you’re thinking – could I have one more opportunity to draw circles in my Bible today…absolutely…

- this is how verses 7 and 10 fit into the conversation…you could circle those verses and draw a line back to verses 8-9 of chapter 1

- when you’ve trusted Christ – your name has been written in the Lamb’s book of life…because he bore the penalty of the judgment you deserved by dying on the cross in your place…it will result in powerful change and growth to his honor and glory…

- but moralism will always come up short…it always runs out of gas…which means…

C. The lack of genuine good works produced through faith in Christ will be the basis of God’s just judgment.

- that’s how and where verses 8 and 9 complete the picture…

- if you know your Bible well, you may already have been thinking about how this process is described in the book of Revelation…

- Christians will have already been judged, not for salvation but for rewards because we were found cleansed by the shed blood of Christ and clothed in the righteousness of God’s Son…

- others will stand before God at the Great White Throne judgment…Revelation 20:11–15 - Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

- If God is an impartial judge – and He is – moralism will never withstand His righteous demands…there are no “good boys”…there are only bad boys, and bad girls – or those who have chosen to repent and place their faith in God’s Perfect Sacrificial Lamb…

- part of the beauty – and the challenge of all of this is – God knows…because He knows our hearts…

- in the book of Revelation we just quoted – the book actually begins with a series of 7 literal letters Jesus writes to 7 literal churches…

- and the common phrase in all seven letters is…I know your deeds…and that’s why Paul ends this section the way he does…

III. God Will Ultimately Judge the Secrets of a Man’s Heart

- and that’s true for those who had the law and those who didn’t…

A. Including those who “sinned under the law”

- Romans 2:12 - …all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law

- because as we saw earlier from the book of Galatians – the entire purpose of the law was to reveal man’s need and make him to turn to God in repentance and faith…

- but even for…

B. Including those who sinned “without the law”

- Romans 2:12 – For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law

- and you might say – well, why?...

- because God still gave such persons enough revelation to believe….

1. because an innate sense of right from wrong reveals what God has written on everyone’s heart – v. 14

2. because God gave everyone a conscience to point us to Him – v. 15

- and Paul said – did you see it in verse 16…Romans 2:16 - on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

- Take-aways?....

1. Are you a moralist?...if so, consider the universal nature of the judgment of God and repent and believe in Christ?...don’t despise the kindness and patience of God and inadvertently store up wrath for yourself in the day of judgment

2. Have you been washed in the blood of the Lamb?...is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life?...praise Him for the work of grace He has done in your heart – celebrate the truth of the gospel and allow His power to continue to develop fruits of repentance

3. Are you satisfied to leave your friends, neighbors, and extended family members in a moralistic yet lost condition?...ask the Lord to help you never…

- Romans 1:16–17 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”


Dustin Folden

Roles

Pastor of Discipleship & Extension Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.