Romans 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
Hard-heartedness is not a good thing. In the natural world, hardening of the arteries is not good for a person’s health. Spiritually, hard-heartedness is not a disease. It is an intentional action to reject the truth in favour of a lie. God connected hard-heartedness with impenitence. Impenitence is an unrepentant heart. Even in the face of truth, the impenitent person refuses to accept the truth.
God addressed this in the days of the apostle Paul. God warned Ezekiel that he was called to speak to a stiff-hearted and stiff-necked people.
The Babylonian’s were invading Judah and they were plundering the temple and taking some captives and killing others. Yet Israel did not listen. Israel is still in defiance of the truth today. Even though they are currently being attacked from several fronts, they still insist they will find victory in their own way. They are hopeful of continued support from countries like the U.S., but not trusting in God.
In our text, God directed Paul to address the piety of the lost Jews who were setting themselves up as the authority even though they were under God’s judgment.
God directed Paul to remind these hard-hearted and impenitent people that they were heaping up the wrath of God to themselves. God does not need a computer or an iPad or any other device to keep a record of each and every person. Revelation 20:11-15 states:
Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
The majority of humanity since the time of the fall has tried to work their way into favour with their version of a god. No one has ever succeeded in working their way into favour with the true God. Abel was declared righteous because he placed his faith in the true God. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord because he trusted in Him. Abraham believed God and He counted it unto him for righteousness.
Faith in God and thus in His promises is necessary to be called one of His saints. The Old Testament saints believed the promises of God which included the coming of the Messiah. God rewarded them for their faith. New Testament saints also believe in the fact that the Messiah has come and He fulfilled the prophecies regarding His first coming. Those who have been saved since the coming of Christ are also trusting in the promises of God and looking forward to Jesus’ soon return.
Those who reject God’s promises, as these people described in Romans 2, are treasuring up to themselves, wrath. They are not doing themselves any favour. They are going to be judged and shown to be wanting and they will find themselves in the lake of fire for all eternity.
Verse 6 of our text tells us that God will render to every man according to his deeds. The saved have rejected self-effort as the means of salvation and hope. They have trusted in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Those who are lost reject that and have developed their own philosophy. I was talking with some people just this week who think they are going to heaven, but they have no testimony of salvation. They love the things of this world. They attend a religious group that deceives them and they do not even see that. They are not interested in the truth.
Those at the great white throne judgment will all be lost people. Jesus will open the books and He will show them how their works condemn them. Then He will read out their sentence and they will be cast into the lake of fire. There will be no mediator between them and Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Mediator between God and men. Those who reject that Mediator, have no mediator.
Those who truly trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, will give evidence of this by their deeds.
In verse 7 God tells us this. Those who are truly saved exercise patience. They endure hardness as a good soldier. They understand that in this life they will face persecution. They dig into God’s Word and desire to be more faithful to Him.
The apostle Paul spoke of his desire to be more like Christ in Philippians 3. He wanted to be purified and he wanted to attain unto that high calling in Christ Jesus.
In verse 7 we see that those who are saved seek to glorify God and in so doing they are looking forward to that crown of righteousness that Paul spoke of in II Timothy 4. They are assured that eternal life has been granted unto them. Their souls are eternal and will live on in heaven. Their bodies will be changed into immortal bodies at the resurrection of the saints.
In verse 8 Paul was directed by God to warn those who are contentious. The Greek word translated as “contentious” speaks of an argumentative spirit that will not submit to God’s authority. This was obviously a serious problem in the days of the apostle Paul. It is also a serious problem today. We have mentioned many times that there are over 100 perversions of the Word of God. Those perversions came about due to the contentious nature of those who worked on them. They were not content to accept God’s Word as truth. They accepted and promoted the lie that we cannot know for sure what God said. They claim to be doing their best to try to invent truth.
There are also hundreds of false churches. They too are built by contentious people who do not want to submit to the truth. They want to be able to infuse their own opinions into what God says and they like the end product. They take offence to those who would literally teach the Word of God.
A person can go all the way back to Genesis 3 and see that the devil (the serpent) caused Eve to doubt what God had said. Eve entertained that doubt and allowed herself to be deceived. Her deception did not make her innocent. God judged her and all women have faced the judgment of God since that time. Adam was not deceived and he is credited with bringing sin into the world.
In our text, in verse 8 we are reminded that the contentious people do not obey the truth. They invent their own brand of truth. Pilate asked Jesus: “what is truth?” Pilate observed the teachings of the Pharisees. He knew that Jesus taught something different than the Pharisees did. He was not interested in the truth and used his confusion as an excuse for not trusting in Jesus Christ. He knows better today, but it is too late for him.
The people addressed in verses 8-9 obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, etc. It requires humility to receive the truth. Nobody likes to be told they are wrong, yet we are all going the wrong way from birth. We are living in a time when parents and children are being told we need to protect the “self-esteem” of the person. Self esteem is just another word for pride. God warns of the sin of pride. Pride gets in the way of getting saved. Unless a person is willing to acknowledge their worthlessness in God’s sight, they cannot be saved. The apostle Paul addressed the issue of human wisdom in I Corinthians 1. There is no room for humanistic wisdom in God’s economy. Our human wisdom needs to be replaced with God’s wisdom. The Holy Spirit is at work in every lost person’s life, to convince them of their need to turn to God. He enables the lost person to see their emptiness and to see God’s mercy and greatness.
As you read of the salvation of Saul (later the apostle Paul) in Acts 9 you find that he understood that Jesus was Lord and he was nothing. This is a necessary place for each person to come to.
In our text, verse 9 tells us that judgment and tribulation and anguish is the end for every soul that does evil. It does not matter if it is the Jew or the Gentile. As we see, God is holding the Jew accountable for his rebellion. God gave the law to the Jews. We will see that more further on. Gentiles are not off the hook. God provided all people with a conscience and He also made His law available to the Gentiles. He sent godly prophets into Gentile areas in the Old Testament. The apostle Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. True local churches have been around since the time of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every person can know the truth if they will listen to the work of the Holy Spirit in their heart. He will draw the person to the truth.
In verse 10 we see that glory, honour and peace is reserved for every man that worketh good. We have noted before that the saved are created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Good works do not save. They are the outflow of God’s gift of salvation. Again this blessing is to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.
In verse 11 we are reminded that God is no respecter of persons. The truth is there for all. All who receive the truth are blessed by the God of truth.