Thursday 30 January 2014

Bible Book:

Romans 2:1-16 Thursday 30 January 2014


A brief guide to Paul's main ideas in thisdifficult passage ...

Everything God has made, being an expression ofGod's holy love, has the capacity to reveal something of God'sbeauty, truth and goodness. God is present in and througheverything that exists, though largely hidden.

Every human being, in every circumstance of life,has some capacity for spiritual discernment. By careful attentionto each person we meet, to every relationship and group in which weplay a part and to our varied experiences, every one of us can seesomething of God's presence, God's intention for human existenceand God's way of dealing with us for our eternal benefit.

Being moral beings, for example, we can discern amoral norm that stands outside and beyond our actual behaviour.Everyone without exception comes under its verdict on ourwrongdoing and selfishness. Consequently, none of us has the moralright to judge others. The holy God, however, must condemn us.However God stays the execution of that judgement as long aspossible.

We can also discern God's "kindness andforbearance and patience". This is of far greater significance thanour habitual moral failures. God wants us to repent, to restorefellowship with us, and to guide and support us in "patiently doinggood" (v. 7). This is the door to God's gift of eternal life("glory and honour and peace" (v. 10) with God in heaven).

Only if we insist on refusing God's love, so thatwe stay firmly in the realm of evil, must God judge us.

Jews know these themes well enough: they areclearly described in the law (the first five books of the OldTestament). Gentiles may find hints of them in their hearts. Hiddenin every heart, however, there are conflicting desires, instinctsand intentions. Some are of God and some ignore or offend God. Itis conscience that witnesses to the truth and claims of God.

To Ponder

  • What examples can you think of where an encounter with someonewho was not a Christian helped you to deepen your Christian faithor clarify your Christian values?
  • Reflect on unbelieving people, professional activities andsecular organisations whose values largely overlap with theChurch's. Where in the Church's life are you encouraged to thankGod for them?
  • Christians are sometimes accused of 'holier than thou'attitudes to blatant wrongdoing or unwise lifestyle choices. How doyou reduce the prospect of being seen as a hypocrite?
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