Romans 2: An Exposition (05) - Justification
All Saints * Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * July 13, 2008
Text: 13 For it is not the hearers of Torah are that are righteous, but the doers of Torah shall be [declared] justified. . . . 16 in the day when God judges the secrets of men... 17 But if you call yourself by name a Jew and rest on Torah and take pride in God, 18 and know the God’s purpose and discern the Good, being instructed in Torah, 19 and if you are convinced that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an educator of the foolish, a teacher of ignorant children, because you have the embodiment of knowledge and the truth in Torah -- 21 therefore you who teach others, do you not teach yourself? 22 You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 23 You who tell others not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who detest idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in Torah dishonor God by transgressing the Law! 24 For just as it is written, “the name of God is being blasphemed among the Gentiles nations because of you.” 25 For circumcision, on the one hand, has its value if you practice Torah, but if you break the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 Therefore if the uncircumcised man obeys the righteous requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be imputed as circumcision? 27 And will not the uncircumcised man (by nature) who keeps Torah judge you who, despite the written code and circumcision, transgress the Law? 28 For a person is not a Jew who is one publicly, nor is circumcision something that is only visible in the flesh, 29 but a person is a Jew who is one inside, and circumcision is of the heart by the Spirit and not by the written code. This person’s commendation is not from man but from God (Rom. 2:13-29 GS).
Paul Defines Justification with _______________ _______________________ Themes.
Romans 2 places all men, even the religious, on trial. No one is able to judge aright and all will face an impartial judgment based on what they have done (2:6-11). Yet this is not a mere condemnation but also an acknowledgement that the true people of God (in some way) fulfill the righteous requirements of the Law of God, whether Jews or Gentiles. Paul convicts the Jews of their failures and recalls the great themes of the new covenant (Israel’s sin/exile & restoration/circumcised heart) (2:25ff).
Reformation Defined Justification as an Initial _____________ ____________________.
This leads to a direct consideration of one of the most important terms in Romans and Protestant tradition, “justification.” The Reformation over against Rome concluded that “justification” is the initial, judicial declaration of forgiveness and the righteous standing of a person before God. The alone instrument of justification is faith - “good works” have no place in ground or process of “justification.”
The Old Testament Promised Justification to God’s _______________ _____________.
Based on the OT, Romans 2:13 says “For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified.” Paul’s justification (in this text) is not an “infusion of goodness” nor is it the way into the people of God (since present tense doers [God’s faithful people] shall in the future be given the status of “justified”). To the Jews justification had to do with the future judgment, when, in God's final law-court, He would be faithful to His covenant promises (showing His righteousness) and vindicate Israel to full blessing. (Hebrew/Greek roots tsadaq/dikaio cf Is. 45:25:, 53:11, Pss. 43:1; 135:14; Is. 50:8; Lk. 18:7)
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more