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Slave or Sinner - Part 5

Good Morning Beloved,

I so glad you're here today
thank you for joining us

Heavenly Father,

Let us begin by thanking You,
Thank You for not giving us what we deserve,
Thank You for Your goodness, forbearance, long suffering,
Thank You for Your mercy. Thank You for the number of examples
You provide us in Your Word, to show us that if we don’t repent,
these same will, in certain, happen to all of us

Lord, may we turn to You with thankful hearts, and with gratitude
That those who are yet lost, would come to Christ,
and not build a wall, brick by brick, with our sin that someday,
will come crashing down upon us. O' merciful Lord, if there’s anyone here in this place
and we know there likely is, who is despising Your goodness,
may they do it no longer from this moment forward

We know that there’s no need to face that judgment
because Jesus took all Your justice and all Your wrath
on the behalf of those who would believe on Him
our world is full of those trying to earn their way into heaven
So, we thank You for Your redemptive plan
and may we enter into it by faith and belief in Christ

In Jesus' name

"Therefore, any one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth. Do you really think—anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same—that you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed. He will repay each one according to his works: eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality; but wrath and indignation to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth but are obeying unrighteousness; affliction and distress for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. There is no favoritism with God.
All those who sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all those who sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For the hearers of the law are not righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous. So, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, instinctively do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts will either accuse or excuse them on the day when God judges what people have kept secret, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus."
Romans 2:1-16

Today's Message: Slave or Sinner - Part 5

So, today I'll begin with the question, "How can a person produce the good works that gain for him glory and honor and peace and eternal life?" That’s the be all, end all question, now isn’t it? We've been studying Romans 2, and we now, well know, the fact that God’s going to judge. And, we hopefully, have learned something about those elements for the principles of His judgment, or the criteria by which God will judge. The question is really, now that I know that I must produce the righteous works to avoid the eternal judgment of God, but how do I do that?

I pray that by the end of this message series, I will have provided you with sufficient information, in answering this question thoroughly.

As we continue in our examination of the principles of judgment as they appear in the first 16 verses of this chapter, Romans 2. And having just been in a court of law before, this particular chapter has a vividness in my mind as I observed the system, that we call justice, working out its path. I am reminded that this has been something that men have, in one way or another, had to deal with throughout the history of mankind. And we all know, that seeking to do what is right, seeking to do what is just, and always finding can be extremely difficult. 

In Psalm 82 verse 2, it says, "How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?" And there we see that they began to proceed directly along the path that was forbidden. And Proverbs chapter 17:15, tell us, "Acquitting the guilty and condemning the just—both are detestable to the Lord." In Amos chapter 5, the prophet says, "Therefore, because you trample on the poor and exact a grain tax from him, you will never live in the houses of cut stone you have built; you will never drink the wine from the lush vineyards you have planted. For I know your crimes are many and your sins innumerable. They oppress the righteous, take a bribe, and deprive the poor of justice at the gates. Therefore, the wise person will keep silent at such a time, for the days are evil." The prophet Habakkuk said in Habakkuk chapter 1 verse 4, "This is why the law is ineffective and justice never emerges. For the wicked restrict the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted." So, we can learn from this, God said be just, and the people proceeded to be unjust, and therefore, God proceeded to chasten them.

So, why does God hate injustice? God hates injustice because it is such a deviation from His own character. God is absolutely and perfectly just. He will judge rightly without favoritism. And someday those who would think themselves to be sons will find that the father is lost in the judge, for He will be just no matter who you are. And I want you to pay close attention to verse 11, and that is the key principle of the section, all the way down through verse 16, which we will examine today. "For there is no respect of persons with God."

What this verse is really saying, is that God is righteously impartial. He is not looking at the person on the outside, He is looking at the conduct to see whether it represents righteousness or unrighteousness. The issue is not whether a person is poor or rich, whether a person is a Jew or Gentile, whether a person is a church member or not, a man or a woman, educated or uneducated, wise or foolish.  He’s looking at the works.  God’s sentence will be strictly on the basis of character and God will be impartial and cannot be bribed.  He judges without respect of persons.

Justification by faith alone applies to the time of entrance into salvation, but not to the time of judgment. We are saved by faith alone but we will be judged, as says Romans, by our works. You may say, "Well, what do you mean by that?" OK, so follow along with me here. When God in free grace receives the sinner at the time of his conversion, he asks nothing in return, but that we believe and submit to Him, isn't that right? That’s it. He doesn't ask anything more than that. But from that moment on, the believer enters into a sort of an agreement, a responsibility of obedience, and then the mark of that believer becomes the obedient pattern of his life. We call it the fruit of grace. Faith doesn’t mean that now I’ve received Jesus, I can do whatever I want. On the contrary.  True faith always results in holy living. Now, there are lapses, there are times when we fail, but there has to be some evidence there, some evidence of seeking after God and glory, honor and incorruption because that’s the standard by which we’ll be judged.

This is such a clear passage and yet people have been so confused by it needlessly. I believe it's clear.
In James 2:9, it says, " But if you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors." So, as you can see, we are right back to that same attitude that we’re now seeing in Romans 2, "you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all." So if we broke one law, we’ve broken it all.

In verse 14, "What does it profit, my brethren, though a man say he has faith and has no works. Can faith save him?” That’s rather an important and relevant question, wouldn't you say? Can faith save him? Well, what if he has no works? Is then faith enough to save him? "If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder. Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless?"
And that, of course, is the true faith. The only way to demonstrate true faith is by works.

Now, I hear people say this all the time, "Well, you know and I know, they are just not living it and I’ve personally never seen any evidence, but I do remember, that day when they put their faith in the Lord." Do you know what that was? That wasn’t saving faith because faith without the works is useless faith, not living faith, it's dead faith. You can see that in verse 20: "Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless?" Then it goes on to say that "Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?" Now some might say, "Oh, my word, that's heresy." Martin Luther admitted that he choked on the epistle of James. He said it was a very "strawy" epistle, that he didn’t like it very well, because he didn’t understand it as he should have.  Abraham was justified, not by God, but he was justified by those about who said, "He truly is a righteous man, it is evident in his works that God has changed his life." You can see it here in verse 22, "You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected."

Well, you can read every verse all the way to verse 26, and that really sums it all up: "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." Did you get that? The point is that men are going to be judged by their works, and the only way that you or I or anyone else on the face of this earth could ever produce even one righteous work, is because your spirit is energized by the indwelling presence of God through salvation. And when salvation truly occurs, you will produce the works which become the attestation to the legitimacy of your faith. And so, God will judge by works.

And now we come to the next element of God’s principles of judgment, and that is: Impartiality.  God will judge with impartiality, verses 11 through 15. Now, verse 11 sets the section in motion. It says, "There is no favoritism with God." When God begins judging men by knowledge, by truth, by guilt, and by deeds, He will do so absolutely, without favoritism to anyone, His judgement will be based solely upon the subjective reality of their faith in Christ and the objective confirmation of that in their works.

If that's true, how could God judge everybody the same? Well, what it says is that God will not be unfair, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody will get the same reward or the same punishment. We know there are degrees of reward. We know that when we face the Lord Jesus Christ at the Bema Seat, some of our works will be gold, silver, precious stones, some will be wood, hay, and stubble. That's recorded in Scripture, do you remember that? So some of us will have a lot of wood, hay, and stubble and very little gold, silver, precious stones, and some will have very little wood, hay, and stubble and a lot of gold and silver and precious stones. There are crowns promised to believers who are faithful in the Scripture, and some of us will receive some of them and some of us will receive all of them. So, we can know that there are degrees by which God will reward, and the same is true for punishment. Not everyone will receive the same punishment. But all of those deserving of punishment, will be punished. But not necessarily in the same measure.

Because God is fair. He doesn’t show favoritism toward people, nor does He hold people responsible when they didn’t know as much as someone else knew who is more responsible. So there we have, bound up in the statement "There is no favoritism with God." is the fact that He doesn’t favor certain people, and also, that He deals fairly with everyone according to the light or the knowledge they have had. So when someone says, "Does God judge everybody the same?" The answer is no. And that’s what we find beginning in verse 12, that God will, without favoritism, will judge. OK so verse 12, this is truly an amazing verse. "All those who sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all those who sinned under the law will be judged by the law."

The fact is there’s no favoritism with God. If you don’t have the law, you’ll be judged as one who didn’t have the law. And if you have the law, you’ll be judged as one who had the law. God will be utterly, and absolutely fair. So, the point of the verse is that in the final eternal judgment, God will show His equity and God will show His impartiality by dealing with men according to the light they possess. Are you guys with me so far? If they did not possess the law, they will not be judged as those who possess the law. If they possess the law, they will be judged as those who possess the law. So that’s the basic principle, that's the whole point of that verse. He has just said that men will be judged according to their deeds, whether Jew or Gentile, and here he really is saying pretty much the same thing. The Jew has the law, the Gentile does not have the law. If a man has the law, he’ll be judged on that basis; if he doesn’t, he’ll be judged on that basis.
Then, notice in verse 12, we have two distinct groups of people. First of all, "All those who sinned without the law will also perish without the law." Now, let's just take the little phrase "without law." That’s group one. They don’t have the law, anomōs, without law, that’s what it means. They don’t have the law. What law is that?  The Mosaic law, God's law. This is a term to designate Gentiles who do not have the written Scripture. They had no prophets, they had no biblical writers, they did not have the written revelation of God, the law of God. He doesn’t mean they’re without any form of the law, he doesn’t mean they have no sense of what is right and wrong, but we’ll get to that in verses 14 and 15. Of course they have some knowledge of right and wrong. They have a law written in their hearts, he says that. But they are without the law in the sense of the Mosaic law. They are without special revelation, Moses, the Scripture, the prophets. 
And let’s face it, all throughout history most men who have lived on the earth have been in that category, am I right? I mean just statistically speaking, most people that come into the world don’t ever hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. And even in these modern times, with development of media and the translation work that is wonderfully being done today, we’re really getting the Word out there, all over the world. But most people who have lived on the earth have not had the law of God. They have not had the written Scripture. So what about them? What about them? Will God judge them even though they never had the law? Yes, but He’ll judge them as those who never had the law. If they never heard the gospel, how can He hold them responsible? Well, let’s find out.

So now, back to verse 12, it says the people without the law shall also perish. Perish, apollumi, basically means to destroy, to put to death. It is used as eternal death in Matthew 10:28, Luke 4:34. It does not, however, mean annihilation, although it can be translated "to destroy." Annihilation is not what it means. It doesn’t mean they go into an unconscious existence. Basically, the best way to understand that is when something is apollumi, it is ruined so that it no longer can serve its intended purpose. And all people were created for the glory of God and for fellowship with Him, and when they do not come to God, they are then apollumi, meaning they are ruined as to that purpose and intention, for which they were created.

Our Lord, for example, uses the word apollumi when men put new wine in old wineskins and the wineskins apollumi, they were ruined by the new wine. They perished, they ceased to have any function or usefulness. The noun form is used by the disciples when they saw the woman anointing the feet of Jesus and putting all that precious ointment and they asked, "Why this waste?" And that is the noun form of apollumi. Why are you just letting the stuff perish? In other words, to be rendered useless. It did not cease to exist, it just wasn't able to be used for a useful purpose in their mind. So the word came to mean useless or ruined, put to death, wasted. Does not mean to cease to exist.

I can think of no better place this is illustrated than in the book of Revelation. In speaking of the doom of the antichrist, we read this in Revelation 17:8: "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up from the abyss and go to destruction. Those who live on the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast that was, and is not, and will be present again." Same word as perish here, a form of apollumi. So the beast is going into perishing, the beast is going into apollumi. In verse 11, it says, "The beast goes into destruction" So twice in the 17th chapter, it says the beast goes to apollumi, the beast goes into perdition or perishing or destruction, depending on your translated version.

Now, if we want to find out what that is, all we have to do is go over to chapter 19, and it says, "But the beast was taken prisoner, and along with him the false prophet, who had performed the signs in his presence. He deceived those who accepted the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image with these signs. Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur." Revelation 19:20. So perishing, apollumi, being destroyed, did not mean that that beast goes out of existence, it meant that he was sent into a living judgment, cast alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.  Oh, by the way, in Revelation 20:10, we find he is still there as a conscious being 1,000 years later. And I only point that out because there have been people who say that this is teaching us that the unbelieving people who’ve never had the law simply go out of existence. That is not what it teaches. They are ruined as to their intended purpose, they are put to death, but it is a casting alive into the lake of fire, as graphically illustrated by the use of the same term in reference to the beast. So God will condemn those who have never heard, and even without the Scripture, they will perish.

Their perishing, it says in verse 12, will be without law. What does that mean? It means it will be commensurate with them not having the Scripture, which means that it will not be as severe as it will be for those who had the Scripture, but it is nonetheless perishing. It isn’t less than hell, it is hell. It is that those who had the law do not receive hell while the others receive less than hell, it is that they receive a greater hell than the hell the others receive. Why? Let's look at verse 12 again: "All those who sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all those who sinned under the law will be judged by the law." Even though they didn’t have the law of God, they sinned, and the wages of sin is ...? Death. People say, “Will those people who never heard perish?” Yes. What does perishing mean? It means the same thing to them that it meant when it was said in Revelation of the beast, they will be cast alive into a lake burning with fire and brimstone. Why? Because they’ve sinned.

So, you see, man does sin, even though he doesn’t have the written law of God because he has in him a sin principle and because he chooses a lifetime and a lifestyle of sinfulness. Specially revealed law, Scripture is not the precondition of sin. Men sin without Scripture. They’re guilty and they’re perishing.

Then there's an illustration that might help, right here in Luke 12, the end of the parable relating to the servants, and all you really need to know is Luke 12:47-48. "And that slave who knew his master’s will and didn’t prepare himself or do it will be severely beaten. But the one who did not know and did things deserving of blows will be beaten lightly. Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more." Did you get that? He knew his Lord’s will, that would be the one who had the law, in a sense They both get beaten. They both are punished. They both perish.  But the greater punishment comes to those who knew the most. 

Let's turn back to Romans 2. Those who sinned without law shall perish. And their punishment will be perishing, a damnation, for they have sinned against God. But it will be a lesser judgment than group two. Look at group two in verse 12 again: "All those who sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all those who sinned under the law will be judged by the law."

What does it mean "..all those who sinned under the law." Now, this refers to those who received the special revelation, those who had the Word of God, particularly Israel and anyone who is attached to them who knew the truth of God. Those who heard the prophets, those who read the law and the holy writings, those who had the special revelation.  It refers to people today who sit in the church, people who know the truth, people who are in a Christian society or Christian environment. They will be judged according to greater light and greater privilege and greater liability. Jesus said in Matthew 11, “How much greater will be the punishment of Chorazin and Bethsaida and Capernaum,” because in those places Jesus walked and lived and did His miracles. “It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah and for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than it will be for those cities.” Why? Because they knew so much more and the greater perishing will belong to them. They’ll be judged by the law. That refers to final judgment.  They’ll be judged in accord with full knowledge of God’s law.

So God is fair.  He is very fair. The hottest hell is reserved for the people who knew the most. That is why, beloved, it is such a fearful thing to be an apostate. It is such a fearful thing to know the truth and constantly turn your back on it. You would be better off eternally if you never knew than to know and turn your back. But God is fair and He will judge those without law as without law, and those with law as with law.

Paul knows the Jew’s going to ask a question. He’s going to say: “Now, wait a minute, Paul. We who have been the guardians of the law, we who have been the agents by which God has revealed the law, we who have written it and rewritten it and preserved it, we should have the higher honor, not the greater condemnation. We who have possessed the law should be protected from God’s wrath.” And some people today would join in, say, "Yeah, I’ve been going to church all my life, I’ve been trying to be religious, I bought a Bible. I’m trying to be religious. I mean how can we be condemned? We’ve been the religious ones, we’ve preserved the law." I'm sure some are going to say, "I’ve taught in seminary, I’ve taught in seminary all my career. I’ve prepared men to go out and serve in churches." Of course, seminaries that don’t believe the Bible and churches that don’t, either but we’ve been religious, we’ve been connected to Christianity. I mean it’s us, You know, the religious people." I wouldn't want to be those people..

Paul replies in verse 13, "For the hearers of the law are not righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous." Now, the word for “hearers” is not the usual word. It is not the normal word akouō, which is the normal word to hear, but it is akroatēs, and it’s used specifically of pupils who hear because they’re constantly in the educational process. Those whose business is hearing, that is exactly what the Jews did in the synagogues. They heard and heard and heard and heard, it was read to them day after day, week after week, it was explained to them so they were literally professional hearers. But it is not to the ones who make it their business to do the hearing, it is to the ones who make it their business to do the doing that justification comes. It is not performance, beloved, it is possession.

And so, that is why James warns us, in the same way. James says, "But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." What a self deception, God’s law doesn’t protect hearers from judgment. No, the more they hear, the more severe they are judged. I guess some people are going to come to the judgment and they’re going to say, "God, do You have a record of how many hours I listened to sermons? And, how many hours, I've read the Bible? I mean, that had ought to count for something. And my kids, they watched Veggie Tales, I even watched those things.  Like, all the time, I mean, isn’t that good for something?"

Some of you fathers might have to say that about your children, say, "Well, I mean I heard it all, I was there, I did everything I could to make them comfortable and I didn’t throw those CD's out, I mean I went to church, with them, isn’t that worth something?" Yeah, greater condemnation. See, God’s law does not protect. The more you know God’s law, the more it intensifies the consequence unless it is obeyed.

And here’s the terrible frustration, because you can’t obey it in your own strength. And so he literally backs them into a corner, you see.  I mean you’re constantly hearing but you don’t do it. And so there is a judicial verdict against you. In verse 13, but the one who does the doer of the law shall be justified, not the hearer.

God requires perfect obedience. God requires a manifestation of righteousness but no one can do that on their own. So, the law is intended to drive us, in desperation, to turn to God for the power to do what we otherwise couldn’t do, ourselves. So the hypothetical question that the Jew might have asked has been answered. It doesn’t do you one bit of good to have it unless you do it, it just intensifies your guilt because only the one who does it is justified, and that’s a judicial verdict there.

Ready for it? Here it comes. Now, this is the question asked by the Gentile or the pagan or the one who didn’t have the law. He’s probably going to say something like, "Now, just you wait a minute, just wait a minute. We never even had the law. And so if we never had the law, how in the world can we be condemned for not obeying it?" Well, that's a fair question, isn't it? So, then the Gentile says, "So, as I see it, we are exempt by special favor." And God says, "No. No, you're not!" Then, the Gentile might say, "Well, we are exempt because of ignorance then. We didn't know. Is that right?" What about that pagan? What about that heathen who never saw the law of God, never read the Scripture, who never heard the gospel? Can you condemn somebody for not obeying the written word? 

I mean after all, in Romans 4:15, it says, "For the law produces wrath. And where there is no law, there is no transgression" And then in Romans 5:13, it says, "In fact, sin was in the world before the law, but sin is not charged to a person’s account when there is no law." And in Romans 7:7: "What should we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin if it were not for the law. For example, I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, Do not covet." God forbid. So if there is no transgression when there’s no law, and there’s no knowledge of sin when there’s no law, how can anyone be responsible when they don’t have the written law? Believe me, there are a lot of people who ask me that question. Does God hold people responsible who have never heard the written law of God?

Well, let's find out, shall we?  We can find the answer in verse 14:  "So, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, instinctively do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law." The pagan, Gentiles, ethnē,  "They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts will either accuse or excuse them."

Wait, what is he saying? He’s saying this: You do not have to have the written law to be responsible for you have a law within you to manifest your behavior, it is manifest in your conscience, and manifest in your thinking. There are four great reasons why the heathen are lost. Reason number one, creation. Creation. Let's turn back to chapter 1 and we’ll pick up a thought from verse 18 and 19. "For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them." As you can see, I hope you can, it's not just the religious men, it is not just the people with the law of God, it is all men, all men. The wrath of God is revealed against all of the ungodliness and all of the unrighteousness of all men, whether they had the written law or not. Why? Because they hold the truth. So, how do they hold the truth? Let's look at verse 19 again: "Since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them." How is it manifest in them? Because God has shown it to them. Just how did He show it to them? It's right there in verse 20"For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse." So from chapter 1, we learn the first reason why the heathen are lost: creation. They can look around them and know there’s a God. They can look around them and perceive that He is supernatural and that He is more powerful than any being that they know of in their dimension, and so they are responsible because they hold that knowledge.

So now, as we come to chapter 2, we find the three remaining reasons why the heathen are lost and why we have to send missionaries to reach them.  It's in verse 14 and 15: "So, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, instinctively do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts will either accuse or excuse them" In other words, they don’t have an external law, however, they have an internal law that makes them a law unto themselves and it is manifest in their conduct.

Let's take a closer look at verse 14, "So, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, instinctively do what the law demands." This indicates that it does occur. When they do it and it is a common occurrence. Pagans naturally do things that are written in God’s law. Did you even know that? Without ever having read God’s law. Their conduct, yes, their conduct, proves they know what is right and wrong. Their conduct proves that there is available within them, residing in them, the law of God.

Ok, let's look at it this way, sometimes pagans pay their debts. Is that in the law of God? Yes. They honor their parents. There are many people who do not know Jesus Christ, do not know God, never read the Bible, who love their wives. There are many wives who love their husbands. There are many people who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ who love and care for their children and there are many children who love their parents. There are number of them who believe that it’s wrong to kill. There are many people who’ve never known Jesus Christ or the message of Christ or the Bible or the meaning of the gospel who would feed the hungry, who would help a man who was sick or a woman who was sick. There are many of them, who have never known God, or Jesus Christ, who are against abortion, or adultery, or child abuse. Pagans even tell the truth, sometimes. They will even seek to do justice. They will struggle for equity. You see, all of these things reveal an internal human code of ethics that is the law unto themselves.

We see it every day, in our human systems of justice. We see it in our humanitarianism, the humanitarianism and the justice around the world, even in those very obscure and isolated peoples. I'll grant you, sometimes it’s warped, but in any society you ever see, you will find some trace of those heathen exercising things, which they do naturally, instinctively really, that are in direct line with God’s law. and they therefore, by doing that, they show that that law is within them.

The Stoics have said, that in the universe there were certain laws operative which a man broke at his own peril. The Stoics, who were utterly pagan philosophers, said they are the laws of health, the laws of morality, and the laws governing life and living, they are especially known for teaching that "virtue is the only good" for human beings, and pretty much everything else, health, wealth, pleasure, are neither good or bad, but have material virtue to act upon. And the Stoics called all of these laws phusis, which means nature. They said men are to live kata phusin, they are to live according to what is natural. The Stoics actually said that these laws were natural to man. So, you see, man can recognize that there is a right, that there is a code of ethics. The very fact that man has a guilty conscience is because he violates the very code of ethics that’s within him. So, there’s a sense of right and wrong, and when men naturally do something that lines up with the law of God and they do it all the time, and therefore, showing that the law of God is written in them.

And think about it, the unregenerate world, does do relative human good. They do not do good in terms of spiritual righteousness.  They do not do good in terms of good that is based on the right motive because nothing is truly good unless it is done for the glory of God, I mean, am I right?  But they do good in a relative humanistic sense, and when they do that, they show the law of God at work, though it is unwritten, it is at work in their heart.  They will do good in the right manner, even if not for the right motive. 

Then, think about Cyrus in the Old Testament who did good.  He let God’s people go. Think about Darius. Think about Artaxerxes.  And they are even commended. In Ezra, chapter 7, Artaxerxes is commended. They were pagans who did good on behalf of God’s people. And what about the city clerk in Ephesus? A pagan who quieted the rioters. Then, there's the Romans of high standing in Acts 23, the ones who protected Paul. And even the barbarians who showed unusual kindness to Paul in building a fire in Acts 28 to warm him. There are many examples, throughout Scripture and in real-time, today. We see certain celebrities, who raised money for others, like Farm Aid, and world hunger, or even Hurricane Katrina. The unwritten law of God, is written within them, and is proven in their doing good.

Man is totally depraved in the sense that he cannot do anything that is righteously good or that is good toward God or that is good as revealing God. But he is capable of doing a human kind of good. But every time he does that, he then proves that there is a law within him that points to that which is good. So, are the heathen truly lost? Yes. But can they claim ignorance? No. Because of creation. It is around them. And they can perceive within their own minds, that God in that creation, and then secondly, because of their conduct, through their conduct, and so, they actually prove that there’s a law, God's law, within them.

Now, this may come as a shock to you. But, basically, if you look at it simply from the standpoint of general human good, most people are outside the prisons, right? It’s the few that are inside a prison. So what does this mean? This does not mean that man is basically good, he is depraved, but there is in him a sense of rightness that keeps him from being as bad as he possibly could be and that is the law of God within him.

Expanding on that thought, let’s look at a third reason why the heathen are lost and that is his conscience. And this is part of that same concept in verse 14 but it’s also in verse 15. They not only reveal the work of the law within them by their conduct when they do naturally the things that are in them, but they also reveal the law of God written in their hearts when their conscience functions in bearing testimony. And let's just stop there for a minute. We all know what conscience is, right? The word simply means co-knowledge. And I guess we could say that it means co-knowledge with oneself.

The etymology of the word basically comes from, whether it’s in Greek or Latin or English, from the same root. The idea is to know along with. And conscience is sort of that thing in you that knows along with you what’s right, or wrong. As it refers to a person’s inner sense of right and wrong, the moral consciousness that pronounces judgment on thoughts and attitudes and speech and conduct.

In Closing....

I know, this has all been a lot to take in, but if you'll recall, I asked a question, at the onset of our message today, so before we close today, I'd like to try and answer that for you. If you would turn to Romans chapter 3:21. The righteousness that God desires, the righteousness of God apart from the law, is manifest. In other words, it isn’t going to happen through your own self-effort of trying to keep some rules, even though they are the right rules. It is the righteousness of God that comes in verse 22, by faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that Believe. Then in verse 24, it says we’re justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. And that is really all you need to know, beloved.

The way and I want to make this very clear here, the only way to produce the righteous deeds is to possess the righteousness of Christ. And the only way to possess the righteousness of Christ is by faith in His redemptive work.

So, do you believe that Christ died God incarnate for your sin? Do you believe that He rose again for your justification? Do you believe that He ever lives to make intercession for you? Do you believe that He will return to complete God's redemptive plan? If you believe and you receive Jesus Christ, He gives you the capacity by the implantation of His own eternal life, needed to produce righteous deeds. And so, when the day comes that judgment is to occur, God will then see the record of a righteous life and He will know that such a life could only be the product of the indwelling presence of the living Christ and grant eternal life. And so beloved,  that is all you need.

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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