Romans 2:3-6 (NIV)
So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”
· Mere man – We must remember that we are not God. We are not the ultimate judge of anyone.
· Do same thing – We must remember that we are sinners. We are not better than other people.
· Escape? – Yes, we do think we will escape God’s judgment. But this is too early in Paul’s argument to know this. He is talking to us as if we were not yet saved. The point here is that everyone will be judged. We are judged through Christ. God judged Jesus to be sin on our behalf so that we could have his righteousness. In that way we have already been through judgment. It is over for us. We will still stand before his judgment seat to receive our reward but not our punishment.
o 2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. NIV
· God’s Judgement –
o Matt 5:21-22 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. NIV
These are scary verses for people who are not secure in their salvation with Jesus. It points out that God’s judgment is such that even motivation of the heart is what he sees and judges. In the case of an unbeliever, even anger is enough to be sent to hell.
o Matt 11:21-22 Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. NIV
This is an interesting aspect of judgment for unbelievers that we don’t often talk about; there are various degrees of punishment in hell. However, I suspect that even in the more bearable judgments will still be something that is horrible.
Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name." NIV
o John 5:30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. NIV
We have the assurance that Jesus’ judgment is 100% fair. He is omniscient so there won’t be any “I said – you said” type of excuses.
o Rev 14:7 He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water." NIV
There is no doubt that there will be a judgment. When the time has come, it is done. No more chances. Once we die, that is it (Heb 9:27).
· Show contempt – How does one show contempt for God’s kindness, etc.? How often do we show contempt for God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience? We show it every time we sin. There may not be a better way of explaining it. It should stop us dead in our tracts when we sin or when we are contemplating sin.
· Kindness, tolerance, and patience – Attributes of God. We often think about his kindness and patience but what about his tolerance.
o Acts 17:31 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. NIV
In a sense, God has dealt with mankind with much tolerance by not destroying us all from the fall of Adam to the current day. But now, there is no excuse.
· Kindness leads to Repentance – Everything that God does to bring about his common grace is meant to lead people to repentance. What does repentance mean? Repentance means a change in attitude and belief about God and who he is (holy and just etc.) and who we are (sinners due his wrath). It means admitting our sin and turning from it. This of course, can only be done because of his work in us to regenerate us and give a willing heart to repent.
· Stubbornness and unrepentant heart – This is the truth about us before he regenerates our hearts. We are stubbornly rebellious. We don’t repent because we think we are better than we are and in no need of changing.
· Storing up wrath – What do you think this really means? It seems like the longer we live our lives outside of God, the more wrath we will have to endure in eternity. Thankfully we know that when we turn to Jesus for salvation all that stored up wrath has already been poured out on Jesus on the cross. How do you react to that?
· The Day of God’s Wrath – Do you look forward to the day when his judgment will be revealed? Yes and no. I do from the standpoint that this will be end to all the evils in the world. There will be a new heaven and earth following it.
o 2 Peter 3:13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. NIV
On the other hand, no, I don’t look forward to it because of what the Lord said to Amos:
o Amos 5:18-20 Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light — pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness? NIV
That day will bring about terrible destruction and calamity for unbelievers. That is not something we should wish on anyone. Rather, we should be praying that people come to Jesus and doing what we can to share the gospel with those who need it.
· According to what he has done – Does this imply that there are some who will escape his wrath because they have done a lot of good in their lives? Not at all, all have sinned (Rom 3:23).