BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 3, Day 5: Romans 2:25-29

Summary of passage:  Paul says what matters is keeping the law and what’s in your heart, not outward conformity. Circumcision of the heart by the Spirit is what matters.

Questions:

12a)  Circumcision is the cutting of the foreskin from a boy’s penis as an outward sign (sign of the covenant God gave to Abraham) that boy belongs to God.  It would show how that person belongs to God and has been chosen out of all the people on the earth for God’s plan.  Pride by definition is “the quality or state of being proud as in inordinate self-esteem or conceit.”  Pride is excessive.  We are all equal in God’s eyes.

b)  Going to church, taking communion, volunteering, mission trips, tithing, doing what Jesus would do, praying, etc.

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Circumcision of the heart by the Spirit (the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit within Titus 3:5).  It means God cares about what kind of person I am, how I’m following Him, and my intentions behind what I do.  I fail. We all do.  As long as my intent was out of love and kindness, God forgives.

Conclusions:  Love how Paul lays it all out and says it is about the heart and being a hypocrite will get you nowhere with God.  Faith in Jesus trumps all.  Always.  You can walk about and think you’re the best thing on this planet and you won’t get into heaven.  Instead, walk around, seeking ways to listen to God, obey God, and open your heart to others.

End Notes:  Again, in first century AD Jews believed that circumcision guaranteed salvation. He might be punished in the world to come, but could never be lost.

In Paul’s day, some Rabbis taught that God will measure the Gentiles one way and the Jews another.

Circumcision (or baptism – or any ritual in itself) doesn’t save anyone.  In the ancient world the Egyptians also circumcised their boys but it did not make them followers of the true God.  Even in Abraham’s day Ishmael (the son of the flesh) was circumcised, but it did not make him a son of the covenant.

Deuteronomy 10:16 says that it’s the heart that matters.  Another example of God’s people taking His word and twisting it to fit what they wanted it to fit.

Having the law is not enough. God requires righteousness (acting in accord with divine law), obeying His law.

This answers the question of “what about the Pygmy in Africa who has never heard about Jesus?”.  He would be guilty because no one is perfect.  He needs forgiveness for sins and only Jesus’s blood grants that.

More importantly, if you’re one of those who is concerned about the Pygmy, ask yourself this:

  1.  What about you who hear the gospel, but reject it? What excuse is there for you?
  2.  What about you, who are commanded to take the gospel to that Pygmy in Africa (Matthew 28:19), but refuse to do it?

What matters is God’s praise, not man’s (John 5:41, 44: 12:43; 1 Cor 4:3-5).  Evidence of our salvation and rightness with God is found in our hearts and we see it in the fruit we leave behind.

William Newell summarizes Romans 2 with Seven Great Principles of God’s Judgment:

– God’s judgment is according to truth (Romans 2:2)

– God’s judgment is according to accumulated guilt (Romans 2:5)

– God’s judgment is according to works (Romans 2:6)

– God’s judgment is without partiality (Romans 2:11)

– God’s judgment is according to performance, not knowledge (Romans 2:13)

– God’s judgment reaches the secrets of the heart (Romans 2:16)

– God’s judgment is according to reality, not religious profession (Romans 2:17-29)

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 3, Day 4: Romans 2:17-24

Summary of passage:  Paul calls out Jews who are hypocritical and believe themselves above others because of their beliefs.  He asks them if they do the very things they preach against:  steal, commit adultery, worship idols, etc.  They are the ones blaspheming God’s name amongst the Gentiles because of their behavior (giving God a bad name).

Questions:

9a)  God chose the Jews as the ones to receive His law, abide by it, and teach it and in return receive blessings.  It seems they have become lackadaisical and flippant, disregarding the law themselves but expecting everyone else to abide by it.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I can be hypocritical with my kids, using the fact I’m an adult as an excuse.  I have begun to catch myself lately and reverse this however.  Work in progress, as always!

10)  Idol worship, stealing, committing adultery, and breaking God’s law.  All of us say one thing and do another at some point in some way.  Basically, every commandment God or Jesus says to do in the Bible is broken by man.  We don’t love others; we’re not kind or compassionate; we don’t care for those in need; we do steal and lie and cheat and covet and commit adultery.  We blasphemy God’s name.  We puts things above Him.  We all sin.  Luckily, Jesus forgives.

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God judges.  They stain Christianity and make it harder for non-Christians to come to God.  I think we all violate God’s standards cause we sin.  Our job is to shrink the number of times we sin, walking more and more towards the light, admitting our failures and faults, giving it to God, and rising tomorrow a better person.  That’s all we poor sinners can do.

Conclusions:  Good lesson, reminding us how we are being watched, how what we say and do does matter, how we do represent Christianity by default, and how God does hold us to higher standards.  If we do nothing else in this world but live to His standards, we will convert others just by our examples even without evangelizing per se.  We must diminish our desire to sin and be hypocrites and live by God’s ways.  In the end, that’s all we can do and why God is the loving, forgiving God that He is.

End Notes:  In first century AD, Jews looked upon themselves as special, chosen by God, given His law, and guaranteed salvation (as long as your heart was God’s).  This was true (before Jesus).  Once Jesus came you have to believe in Him to gain salvation.  That’s not Paul’s point, however.  His point is that this “specialness” belief has turned to boastfulness, pride, and superiority over others and is no guarantee of anything.

This presentation takes the form of a dialogue.  Paul knew how a self-righteous Jew thought, for he had been one himself (who better to speak to this?).  He cites on advantage after another that Jews regarded as unqualified assets.  But those assets became liabilities when there was no correspondence between profession and practice.  Paul applied to the Jews the principles of judgment laid out in verse 1-16.

Jesus explained in Matthew 5:19-48 that knowing the law does not justify anyone.  The law applies to both our actions and our heart.

Paul implies that some Jews may have been profiting from idolatry.

Paul reminds the Jews how God said in the Old Testament that the failure of the Jew to obey the law causes Gentiles to blaspheme God (Isaiah 52:5; Ezekiel 36:22).

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 3, Day 3: Romans 5-16

Summary of passage:  When you don’t repent, you are storing up wrath on the day of judgment.  God will give to each person according to what he has done.  Eternal life, honor, peace, and glory to those who do good.  Wrath and anger, trouble and distress to evil-doers.  All will be judged.  Those who obey the law will be declared righteous on the Day of Judgment by Christ.

Questions:

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God’s wrath.  Good and treasures in heaven I hope.

7a) Eternal life, honor, peace, and glory to those who do good.  Wrath and anger, trouble and distress to evil-doers.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I hope goodness.

8 )  Jesus Christ.

Conclusions:  Terse answers on the personal questions.  It’s hard to judge oneself.  In my eyes and from my limited perspective, I’m doing good.  I’m sure I’m failing though in places in God’s eyes.  The questions would better be worded, “What would a friend say about your heart attitude and storing up for God?”  Or even better if we were asked to pray about what God sees in us and have Him reveal it to us.

End Notes:  Those who condemn sinners are storing up the wrath of God, not merits.  God is the only one who can grant eternal life because none of us are good all the time.  Sin stains us.

Jews are first in line for the gospel (Romans 1:16), first in line for reward (Romans 2:10), and first in line for judgment.

The word indignation comes from the idea of “boiling up,” thus having the sense of a passionate outburst. The word wrath comes from the idea of a swelling which eventually bursts, and applies more to an anger that proceeds from one’s settled nature.

Paul is emphasizing how people are saved by faith not by deeds and if one “persists in doing good” this is proof of genuine faith.

All are equal in God’s eyes.  The word translated partiality in some translations comes from two ancient Greek words put together – to receive and face. It means to judge things on the basis of externals or preconceived notions.

“All who sin apart from the law” refers to the Gentiles.  God judges according to the light available to them.  Gentiles will not be condemned for not obeying a law they did not possess.  Their judgement will be on other grounds.

Some ancient rabbis taught that God favored the Jews.  Paul refutes this.

All that matters is if you’ve obeyed the law.  Hearing the law or knowing the law is not good enough.

Paul clarifies that even if you haven’t heard the law per se, you can be condemned unless you follow the law written on your heart (law for themselves or conscience, which is the law abiding in their hearts).  By nature, man has morals.  But this is not a substitute for God’s laws.

Your conscious is your morals but everyone’s conscious is different and it can become corrupted.  You still need to follow the law to gain righteousness.  Conscious (like God) can still be ignored.

You still will be judged since all of us have a conscious.  No one escapes.  Ignorance is not an excuse.  Jesus is the judge to whom we will all be accountable.  The Jews believe God is the one who will deliver final judgement on the world.