11/06/11 Romans 2:2-11
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
I’M NOT ok. yOU’RE NOT ok.
This New Testament letter gives a thorough, detailed explanation of our Christian faith. Martin Luther first understood and depended on God’s Good News by studying Romans. God still uses this letter to touch lives and make these truths real to men and women today. The first three chapters of Romans carefully argue that all people are guilty in God’s court. People who rely on their performance record will find themselves guilty in God’s court. God tells us He gave us His rules for human living in writing so that “every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God” (3:20). Yet the devastating critique of our human condition ends on a note of hope. God has found a way to give us righteousness without us having to personally dot every “I” and cross every “T”.
Why do “respectable” sinners look down on “gross” sinners (2:1-3)?
Some people encourage sinning (1:32). Some people disapprove of it (2:1). But they both do it. That is the fatal flaw that forces humanity to face God’s rage. Paul began his letter showing that both Jew and non-Jew are in desperate need of righteousness, because each group stands guilty before God. The Jew has God’s written guidelines and knows more about God. Non-Jewish people had their consciences to scream out indictments, God’s unwritten alarm system, His prosecutor in our heads.
What “same things” is each group guilty of (2:4)?
One approach to handling guilt is to construct a system of do’s and don’ts which we can live up to. Then we reassure ourselves of our goodness by meticulously keeping the rules we construct. If we still feel guilty, we compare ourselves with people who don’t live up to our high standards, and remind ourselves how much better we are than them. This has historically been a favorite approach of religious people.
What evidence do you see in 2:5 that God’s kindness leads to audacity rather than repentance?
God didn’t design the Law as a how-to guide for attaining a state of perfection. God designed it to show how desperately we need a righteousness which comes from God rather than a righteousness based on our own futile, frustrated efforts.
4. How are good, religious people in the same boat as the people in 1:18-32?
Righteousness is not what a person does or does not do. Righteousness is whether or not a person truly is, in his heart, like God! Romans demonstrates that this kind of righteousness simply is not possible for human beings.
5. How can the same book have 1:17 and 2:6-7 with seemingly opposite messages?
Jesus taught that people who want to be sure they’re safe with God must find a righteousness that goes beyond the Law-based righteousness that preoccupied the scribes and Pharisees of His day (Matt. 5:20).
6. Compare 2:6-7 with Matthew 25:31-46. How did Jesus talk the same way as Paul?
In the first three chapters of this book Paul demonstrated the dead condition of humanity. He argued that we do not die spiritually because of sin. Our sins demonstrate that we are spiritually dead.
Why is “going good” necessary to earn eternal life (2:7)?
If God doesn’t show favoritism (2:10-11), why were the Jews the chosen people?
Paul knew a lot of his readers would pass judgment right away on the people he had just described (1:18-32). If those readers take a look at their own lives, they’ll see they’re in just as much trouble with God. All humanity is subject to God’s unbiased sentence, one that He levied on His own Son.
1. Who’s better off: someone who knows God’s Law but doesn’t keep it, or a person who doesn’t know God’s Law at all?
How can we do any kind of Christian intervention if it appears we’re pointing the finger at the other person?
How does this section connect to Matthew 25:31-46? What’s the connection to Daniel 7:9-10?