The Outcomes: Part 2 – Lite (20 min)

This audio version is the parent or full blog; Parts 1 and 2 (57 min).

The 2nd chapter of Romans personalizes the reality of willful blindness in a “virtuous” person, and it ought to cause great introspection.  This is the 2nd half of my study which covers points 3 and 4 in my outline. Please refer to part 1 for the first 2 points on our eternal judgment. I’d like to remind us that Romans 2 is written to the home assembled church in Rome. The point is that they were believers.  If anything, chapter 2 reminds me that in of myself alone, there is no difference between “them” and “me” in the sight of God. Oh, but God!  Thank you for the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses from all unrighteousness.   

The truth is, in the sight of God, no one is righteous without His imputation of righteousness by His grace through faith.  As it is written:

  • For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:22 b to 23).

But glory to God, the distinction that brings the change of classification in His sight is God’s pardon through faith where He declares us just (or justified).

  • For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8 to 9).

Here’s what my study has cemented in my heart.  I’ve organized it using the following summations:

Part 1We need to ensure we do not judge; we have no right! (Verses 1 to 5);
We should live knowing every person will be judged; even the moral person (Verses 6 to 16);
Part 2We have to avoid being religious; this leads to blindness and doubts (Verses 17 to 24); and,
We are required to seek value and reward from God; the reward of the covenant through heart circumcision (Verses 25 to 29).

    My outline may seem gloomy, but these points really provide great strategic pillars within the framework of faith to help us attain better eternal outcomes.  When you prepare for the imminent, you are more likely to realize additional benefits than inattentiveness yields.  Let’s continue now with point 3.

        Third Point:  We have to avoid being religious; this leads to blindness and doubts

        Please meditate on Romans 2 verses 17 to 24.

        When this portion of Scripture was written, most people who had a form of Godliness were Jewish and much of the world was pagan or polytheistic.  Paul, a Jewish reformed Pharisee, writes of the dangers of having religion without a relationship with the living God.   I am thankful that God had chosen these precious people who with great diligence safeguarded Holy Scripture from the Old Covenant or the Old Testament.  The LORD in both Testaments warned about having a devotion to rules and laws while being void of any personal relationship. 

        • “Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men. Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.” (Isaiah 29:13 to 14).

        In the letter to the Philippians, Paul encouraged believers to press on to lay hold of the eternal life that Jesus purchased for him.  It is written:

        • For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” (Philippians 3:3 to 12).

        Generally speaking, legalism causes blindness in that the focus on rules gives a person the false impression that adherence to religious laws will give them a desirable standing with God.  It is a cart of a decaying crop without the means of carrying it to its destination.  Holy Spirit birthed faith is both the seed that produces good imperishable fruit (1st Peter 1:22 to 25) and the vehicle to acceptance in the Beloved, the Godhead (Ephesians 1:6).

        The danger of legalism is that a person can: (1) wrongfully assume they are saved by performance and not by grace through faith; (2) judge the fate or heart of another person; and, (3) stop relying on the sufficiency of Jesus Christ’s atonement for sin which results in placing hope in one’s actions instead (which can never bring about a heart regeneration).  

        Being blinded by legalism, people often then pursue teaching others to come under the same bondage of performance not realizing what they are doing.  Jesus often addressed the teachers of the law with a rebuke about their blindness.  An example of this can be found in Matthew 15.  Instead, Jesus implores all who will hear Him saying:

        • Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28 to 30).

        Now someone who is legalistic is also challenged with their own inability to perfectly follow the law.  God’s law is perfect and the human race was corrupted when sin entered so it is impossible for any human being to do so perfectly.  If someone thinks they are following God’s laws perfectly, they are deceiving themselves.  (Refer to Ecclesiastes 7:20, James 4:17, and 1st John 1:8).  This is where bondage and frustration occur.  How can anyone be good enough?  You can’t be!   Jesus Christ is sufficient.

        By being legalistic and lacking a growing relationship with the LORD, doubt creeps in

        Let’s get clear about doubt.  In Scripture, doubt is not the opposite of faith. 

        In fact, Jesus implied that a person could have faith and still have some doubt.  Consider this passage.

        • “So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.” (Matthew 21:21)

        The word for “doubt” in this Scripture is defined in Strong’s definitions as (G1252) which is “diakrínō”. This word means to separate thoroughly, withdraw from, oppose, hesitate, doubt, judge, be partial, stagger, and waver.  An example of this is to believe the LORD heals but doubt He will do it for you.

        Thayer’s Greek Lexicon provides that scripturally, G1252 or “doubt” in certain passages is used in a way not found in secular authors.  It is to be at variance with oneself, hesitate, and doubt.  You can find this word used in Matthew 21:21; Romans 14:23; James 1:6.  If you enjoy word studies, I encourage you to look up the word “doubt” in a Biblical Greek Lexicon.  It may clear up quite a few things.

        Saving faith in Greek is pistis G4102 and pistos G4103.  In Scripture, the opposite of “pistis” is Strong’s Number G571 matches the Greek word “apistos” which is used in the following manner in the King James Version:

        •  that believe not (6 times), unbelieving (5 times), faithless (4 times), unbeliever (4 times), infidel (2 times), thing incredible (1 time), which believe not (1 time).

        A few examples of this word can be found in Matthew 17:17, Mark 9:19, Luke 9:41, Luke 12:46, 2nd Corinthians 4:4, 2nd Corinthians 6:14, Titus 1:15, and Revelation 21:8.

        Also, please note there is a difference between no faith (“apistos”) and little faith (oligopistia and oligopistos) which was used in Matthew 17:20 and Matthew 6:30; Matthew 8:26; Matthew 14:31; Matthew 16:8; Luke 12:28 respectively.

        This could lead to another study which I will avoid at this time.  But rest assured, the LORD will respond to anyone who prays for the LORD to increase their faith or remove doubt.  In time, you will look back and be amazed at the increased appetite for fellowship with Him in prayer, in the Word, and in fellowship with other believers!

        Fourth Point: We are required to seek value and reward from God; the reward of the covenant through heart circumcision.

        Please consider Romans 2 verses 25 to 29, and along with these cross-references:

        • “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:6).
        • “And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised (that is, the commanded physical cutting representing the old covenant) that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:3 to 6).

        For this section, I would like to concentrate on Romans 2 verse 29 using the New International Version.  It says:

        • “No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.”

        What a great ending to Romans 2.  This verse confirms that the justified will obey because of a changed heart (not based on a person’s effort).  This tells me, that if a person is justified, they will want to obey God (although they will do so imperfectly).  This verse also confirms a changed heart will seek commendation (or awards) from the LORD. (Refer to 1st Corinthians 4:5, Ephesians 1:14, Philippians 1:11, and Philippians 4:8 to better understand the use of the word “praise” or commendation in verse 29.)

        • “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold (though your faith is far more precious than mere gold). So, when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.” (1st Peter 1:6 to 9 New Living Translation)

        So, while a morally decent but unregenerated person can perform good works, without a changed heart it will not change their destination because this person remains unpardoned.  The Holy Spirit regenerated person obeys God which produces fruit that will be rewarded at the judgment seat of Christ and will be on display when the bride returns to rule and reign with Christ.  This gives God glory for His goodness and redemptive work through Christ Jesus.

        You might be asking what should we seek while here on earth.   Romans 2 verses 7 and 10 tell us to seek:

        1. Glory (which is an overall good opinion or estimation from God, Refer to 1st Peter 1:7; 2nd Peter 1:17);
        2. Honour (appearing in the rewards of the future life which one has by reason of rank and state of office held, Refer to John 12:26; and 1st Thessalonians 4:4);
        3. Immortality (the body of a person exempt from decay after the first resurrection in a state of never diminishing love in all purity, Refer to 1st Corinthians 15:50 and 54, Ephesians 6:24 noting the word “sincerity” here means uncorrupted, 2nd Timothy 1:10, and Titus 2:7);
        4. Eternal life (which is being abundantly one with Christ as Christ is with the Father and the Spirit, Refer to John 6:27, John 10:28, John 11:25 to 26, Ephesians 1:6, and Romans 6:23).  Now note here, that we will never be God (self-existent and all-powerful, etc), but will become unified in the Holy Beloved and perfected or glorified. (Refer to Hebrews 1:3, John 1:4, Colossians 1:17, and Revelation 4:11).  The created will always need the source of life.

        If I had to sum up Romans 2 from the life of Jesus, I would look at John 3:1 to 21 where Jesus teaches a decent law-abiding man named Nicodemus that a new birth needs to occur to have eternal life; and in verse 36, Jesus tells John the Baptist that the wrath of God remains on anyone who does not believe Him.  After the John 3 encounter, Nicodemus brought about 100 roman pounds of a myrrh and aloe mixture to anoint Christ’s body for burial (refer to John 19:39).  Scripture does not tell us if Nicodemus accepted Jesus Christ as his Messiah, but I think this offering testifies that he believed something; only God knows the heart and its journey to salvation.  Can you imagine the impression that this wealthy teacher of the law had when handling the beaten body of Jesus Christ.

        • “Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men; So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider.”   …  “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes, we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” (Isaiah 52:14 to 15 and chapter 53:2 to 7).

        What a deeply profound and personal transaction Nicodemus undertook to preserve the body of Christ.  I wonder if He recalled the prophecies about the suffering Servant.  Imagine if Jesus (the Word who became flesh, the One whom God used to create the world, the One who by the power of His Word sustains all life) decided to open His mouth and say “stop”.  But no, He did not.  He allowed His death to pay the price for every human being’s sin.  And anyone who believes in Him can have everlasting life.  Oh, what a Saviour!

        Ok, I promised you some inspiring hope at the end of my study which largely focused on judgment.  Here it is.  God’s Word is beautiful and offers the best promises.

        • “Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands. … But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. … And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already. And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.”
        • That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant. … And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.”
        • “And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.” He also said, “The LORD will judge his own people.” … So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved. (These Scriptures are various passages from Hebrews 8 through 10 from the New Living Translations that explain it all).

        Praise God!  What hope!  What promises!  What an outcome for those saved by grace through saving faith; from faith to faith through love. 

        For those who have not received God’s gift of Jesus Christ as your Redeemer, it is as simple as telling God you believe Jesus is the resurrected Messiah and then asking Him to forgive your sin. As time goes by you need to grow in your faith which will result in turning away from all your sinful patterns, BUT with the help of the HOLY SPIRT because you can’t do it alone. Truth be known, at first we all like our sin and none of us will ever be good enough! If you need evidence of who Jesus Christ is, you should evaluate the Scripture for yourself. Please visit DESIRINGFRUITFULNESS.CA/CHOICES for historical proof which was documented and preserved for thousands of years.

        Or you can review the 4 SIMPLE STEPS or concepts to help you ask the LORD to bring you into right standing with Him. The steps are designed to help you know why a prayer of repentance is necessary. There are no “specific words” to pray, but there is a process to coming to faith.

        All Scripture in this blog is from the New King James Version unless otherwise specified.

        Published by OneBranch

        OneBranch believes the Word of God is effective for fashioning a heart committed to loving God and loving others. As such, internet content is published with the intention of motivating others to read Scripture for themselves. The content is created from personal devotional/study time in the Word of God and can be viewed as an online journal in the life of one of the branches in the LORD's fruitful vineyard. Readers/listeners are encouraged to validate all Scripture and concepts using the Holy Bible and prayer.

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