Our pastor is preaching from Romans for the summer, so our Life Group decided we would study it along with the sermons. I suspect Pastor Mark will have about eight to ten sermons from Romans. But, studying it as a Bible study will require many more weeks than that, perhaps as many as 25 to 30 weeks. This was the third week for the series, and pastor is in Romans 6, whereas in Life Group we are just through Chapter 2 verse 16.
I found many lessons to teach yesterday from Romans 2:1-16. I chose to focus on the statements along the lines of “you have no excuse.” The main two are 1:19-20 and 2:14-15. Here’s what those four verses say, presented herein as if they are consecutive in the book.
What may be known about God is plain to them [mankind], because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.
So, in these verses, God is saying, through Paul, that mankind is without excuse as to following Him or not. You can’t get to the gates of heaven and say, “No one presented the gospel to me in a clear way, a way I could understand it.” Nor can you say, “I’m a Gentile, and didn’t have the benefits the Jews had.” Nor can you say, “I’m a Jew. We were God’s chosen people.” In each case, God says, “You have no excuse. I made Myself plain to you. All who sin apart from the law, all who sine under the law, and you now have your eternal punishment.”
Ouch. That’s something no one wants to hear. Everyone wants to think that everyone they know who dies makes it heaven. Not so, says God through Paul.
I think I need to spend a lot more time in these few verses. Of course, in twenty or so weeks I might think that about all of Romans.