The Goodness of God
Romans 2:1-4, "Therefore thou art inexcusable O man, whomsoever
thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou
condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is
according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest
them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt
escape the judgment of God?
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance
and longsuffering; not knowing the goodness of God leadeth
thee to repentance?"
[The following is a
sermon given by Pastor J. Mark Martin of Calvary Community
P.O. Box 39607, Phoenix,
Arizona, 85069.] "This is Romans chapter 2, as we get back on
track in the book of Romans.
Romans chapter 2. We
begin with the very first verse of Romans 2.
I've entitled the message this morning "The Goodness
of God." Verse
1, "Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who
passes judgment for in that you judge another, you condemn
yourself; for thou that judgest doest the same things." Now to get the hang of what he's saying (we've
been out of this for a few weeks), he's reflecting on what
he's said already in chapter 1.
Remember the purpose of the first three chapters
of Romans is to bring the whole world into accountability
to God. And there's
three kinds of people, there are pagan people, there are moral
people and there are religious people in the world.
Those three categories have always been.
Today you're either a pagan, a moral person or a religious
person. And then, there are saved people. I guess there's four real categories. [Paul was addressing saved people in the Church of God
and even though we're saved, we all come from one of these
three categories mentioned, and carry into the body of Christ
the mental attitudes of these three categories found in the
world. I personally
think that's what Paul's getting at.
But he's also addressing these three categories in
the world, because some of each are sitting in this congregation,
warming seats, like a percentage found in any congregation.
So he's also addressing these unsaved people right
within our midst.] But Paul addresses each of these.
first category we already talked about, the pagans, who lived
like the devil. And
they, they're going to hell.
They got a foot on a banana peel and it's an icy road
they're walking on, they are going to hell. And he describes their actions. At the end of chapter 1, it's shocking as he
describes their 'homosexuality and their wickedness and greed
and malice and envy and strife, gossips, slanderers, haters
of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient
to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving,
unmerciful--and although they know the ordinance of God that
those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not
only do the same but they give their hearty approval to everybody
else to do it.' And now the context of chapter 2, he turns to
the moral crowd who are looking down their noses and saying
'These people should go to hell, they're immoral.
They're not like us, we're good people.'
Paul now addresses that crowd in chapter 2. OK, what about moral people? Do they have a little closer, are they closer
to God than immoral people?
Let's see. Chapter 2, verse 1, "Therefore
you are without excuse every man of you"--every moral
man of you, is what he's talking about-"who
passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn
yourself, for you who judge practice the same things."
'And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls
upon those who practice such things.' In other words, the moral crowd was saying,
"Yes! Those perverts,
those criminals, those no-goods, they should have the judgment
of God on them, yeah!' And the apostle Paul says, 'Wait a minute!
You judgmental people, you. You are guilty of the same.' Shock city, 'No way!' 'Yes, you are!' Jesus said this, he said, "You have heard it
said that thou shalt not commit adultery."
That is the act of adultery, right? "But I say to you"--he's talking to the men--"if
you lust in your heart towards another woman, you've already
committed adultery" in your heart.
Well there goes the moral man, right?
Because you know, a lot of guys, right up to the line,
you know--"But we didn't do
it." Did everything
but that.And Jesus, you know, he hit it right on the head.
It's not a legalistic thing of just the act of adultery. He says it's a heart problem. He said if you've got that wrong desire in your
heart, man, you've already committed that sin. And he said in another example "You've heard
it said 'Thou shalt not kill" or commit murder, is what that
means. "But I tell you that if you have even hated
your brother, you've already committed murder." [cf. Matthew
5] Oh brother, who of us hasn't hated somebody?
Maybe not within the last five minutes, but who of
us hasn't hated somebody once in awhile? Jesus says you're a murderer and you can go
through the list of the Big Ten, you know, and every one of
those, Jesus magnified. He's
saying, "Look, moral people, you're not so moral after all."
Everybody's heart is alike.
You cut us open, we're all alike.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, desperately
wicked, who can know it" (Jeremiah 17:9).
Can the Ethiopian change the color of his skin, the
prophet asks? Could
the leopard get rid of his spots?
No. Then neither
can you who are accustomed to doing evil do good.
Just after we are born the sinful nature of Satan's
wavelength enters into all of us--no one is exempt.
That is why we need salvation, because of this sinful
nature broadcast into all of our minds [Satan is the prince
of the power of the air-he supercharges the very atmosphere
of earth with his sinful, wrathful, lustful attitudes-and
these "broadcasts" infect all of our minds.]
My sin isn't just because of the wrong things I do,
my sin is my being. You
see I do sinful things because I am a sinner.
[The sinful nature is programmed into us by Satan's
invisible inaudible yet powerful broadcasts.]
Doing sinful things didn't make me a sinner, they proved
I was a sinner. We
all have our blind spots, and moral people have their blind
spots too. Some people
really think they are much better than they are.
Good old Al Capone, the people who really knew him
heard him say over and over again about what a good guy he
was. Now Al Capone
was a murderer, and he was a mobster, a killer.
He had no conscience whatsoever.
And yet this is what he had to say about himself. "I spent the best years of my life giving people
the lighter pleasures, helping them to have a good time, and
all I get is abuse, the existence of a hunted man."
That's what his friends said he said a lot. "All I get is abuse." "All I do is try to give people a light time."
Of course he meant lighting a match, and you've got
gasoline all over you, you know probably. But killer Capone, Old Dirty Al, you know, he
thought he was such a great guy.
"And why are these police and F.B.I. agents all over
me all the time?" But it's not just the picture we have of ourselves
that's sometimes way off.
It can be of our condition, you know, it can be of
our condition. And we can think we're safe when we're not at