Accountability for Our Action – 4-26-22

who “will render to each one according to his deeds”:  eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath Romans 1:6-8 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Romans chapter 2 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

God’s Righteous Judgment

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your [a]impenitent heart you are [b]treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the [c]Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.

12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

The Jews Guilty as the Gentiles

17 [d]Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest[e] on the law, and make your boast in God, 18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. 21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.

Circumcision of No Avail

25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? 27 And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your [f]written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose [g]praise is not from men but from God.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 2:5 unrepentant
  2. Romans 2:5 storing
  3. Romans 2:9 Gentile
  4. Romans 2:17 NU But if
  5. Romans 2:17 rely
  6. Romans 2:27 Lit. letter
  7. Romans 2:29 A play on words—Jew is literally praise.

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Isaiah 41:10- “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Thank you for returning. We started on this cray ride of Romans. I recall in my youth, people telling me it is the most difficult book to study because people refuse to be honest with themselves. They read it skim the parts that have potential to convict and repeat in their minds that they are fine, covered in grace.  And then I come in and ask – what if that is a lie you bought and maybe you aren’t ok and do not know it. We saw Paul start his life in the Bible, killing Christians and believing he was going the work of the Lord. It is very possible to be convinced you are doing the Lords work and be wrong. That is how the enemies lies work. This is why we must stay humble and repentant. We must be honest with ourselves and with God.

Yesterday I challenged us all to take a few actions daily to help get us some healthy roots and to root out any wrong ways within us. This morning I opened up yesterdays to refresh my mind as to what it was and thought maybe I could copy it here today so we all do not have to refer back.
I am serious about making more changes in my life and becoming more Christ-like, to I err on the side of caution and I started with the prayer first then reviewed the list of things to do:

Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with all unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes of bondage and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. Please reignite the fire in my belly that I may burn for you in boldness. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

HEALTHY ROOTS CHALLENGE: this challenge is to heal and strengthen our roots
One – Give God ALL the Glory
Two – Dedicated time for Thanksgiving, and be thankful for all things!
Three – Guard our hearts and mind, rebuking and stopping sinful or not godly thoughts, not letting our minds wander and be prayerful and intentional in thinking.
Four – And finally, let us be humble. Humble enough to say I do not know it all and God has something new to reveal to me in this book and in this day.
(Please review the blog post from 4/25/22 for an explanation as to why we are doing this daily and for the scriptural reference instructing us to make these things a practice in our lives. Until they flow from us naturally, we can intentionally and with all of our hearts, scheduled them into our lives and watch them heal and reroute our unhealthy roots that gave sinful/evil fruits.)

Now, staying humble and honest with ourselves – let us look at chapter two.
It starts with the word “Therefore”. We will see that word a lot during this book. Paul is making a long, logical argument in order to clarify the process of justification. This is the pivotal and critical corner stone of Christian belief – so we better understand what exactly this all is. So what is ‘therefore’, there for?

Because we are all a mess (we have either once sinned or we sin daily while struggling not to OR we are not even Christians yet and controlled completely in sin), we need a foundational understanding of who we are in that mess – lets separate the person and the sins and examine every aspect of it all.

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” Verse 1

We started yesterday with discussing God’s wrath, which is due to sinner, and praying we get away with our sins and get the easy way out. But there are those ignoring the log of dirt in their own eye and pointing out the speck in someone else’s eye. I suppose, when confronted with our sin, it does feel good to say, “I am not that bad – look at that person who is much worse!”  But while we are in the book of Romans, not much will feel good. Because if you do that, you are ‘judging’ as described in verse one and then subject to the curse – to be condemned by that very thing! God is not mocked – every word of these holy texts comes true. Luckily it is conditional on us NOT repenting and changing our ways.  
Becoming Justified – starts with God’s judgments. They will happen in private in the quiet devotional time, in the prayer time – or if ignored and put off, it will happen publicly. Either we intentionally humble ourselves or God will humble us.

But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.”
“Such things” refers to the list of sins from yesterday, that was so all inclusive we each found ourselves guilty in full or in part somewhere on that list!

 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?”
Yes, we all hope to! Let us be honest! God’s wrath is the last thing we ever want to encounter. He is a loving and tender God and his corrections and discipline is hard enough – so yes, yes, yes we want to get away with our sins, be cleaned and pretend it never happened.  We long for an easy justification. We even say that justification is like just-as-if-I-never-sinned. But there is no indication here in the book of Romans showing that to be truth. It is muddy water. The truth is, we sinned. It happened and we need a redeemer. He washes us and the mark of that cleansing in there and the consequences of some of those sins never go away. Getting humble, even when you humble yourself is never easy. Repenting and asking forgiveness is hard. Being cleansed is a free gift, yes, but there is nothing free on earth. It cost Jesus pain and His life – it costs us humility and repentance. 

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”
I get so mad at parents who pray for their prodigals and apply a corrupt version of tough love which is a disguise for control and comes from a heart of manipulation – worse yet is when it is taught and often taught with the idea that “Some people have to hit rock bottom” and so they pray that for them.
Remember Romans 2:4 when praying for souls – Dear Lord, Please provide to my son the riches of Your goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering. Draw him to You, in Your love. Bless my son and save his soul I pray, in the name of Jesus! ~amen
My son is already having a hard enough time in his sins doing it his way – He needs blessings and mercy. He needs love and acceptance. He needs all the things I needed when I called out to God. You do not NEED to hit rock bottom. You need to know you are in need of saving, and that Jesus can lovingly save you. No matter where you are at, even if it isn’t the bottom.

But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”:”
This is why Paul is writing – there is literally an urgency! This judgmental spirit has crept into the church and we’ll have a bunch of Pharisees if left unchecked. In our modern church, when it is recognized we often call it the spirit of religion. It is the mother of hypocrisy – people begin to say ‘I was at church on Sunday and therefore I am ok – I can sin all week and repent Sunday morning.’ At the same time, they point at a neighbor in church and say, ‘stay away from them; they don’t live the Sunday message all week!’ 
Paul is trying to shake them awake and surely got an ‘amen’ out of one or two – but he is shaking awake for a good portion of this book. Paul literally writes in chapter 13 that it is high time y’all wake up!  Why don’t you and I start reading with being awake and in honesty now, before we miss most of the book and wake up in chapter 13.

So – believers or nonbelievers, ALL of man (and woman) kind is earning an eternal treasure, a prize, or a reward of a sort. A paycheck in a sense. Eternal life in heaven is NOT the treasure, because you cannot earn it, or participate in it. It is a free gift.

So paid for your deed:
eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.”
Again, this is NOT saying you can EARN HEAVEN. Jesus is the only one who can redeem us. We store up treasures in heaven or hell, maybe Paul should not have mentioned it here… because too many get hung up on the heaven or hell and miss that this whole thing (going back to the beginning, yesterday, is a discussion on our actions. Justification is separate from redemption or we wouldn’t need two words..

12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;”
Jesus redeems us that is nothing we can do, except accept it. But our choices, actions and sins (if we think we can help it or not) will be judged by God and we will be either justified or Judged (aka experience the wrath of God). So let us stay focused on the topic of our behavior.

14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)”
If you do not know Jesus, if you do not know the law (aka the atonement law), if you do not know there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun – the wages of sin is still death and you are still going to hell. Ouch. Where is mercy? Well, those of us who believe were told to tell everyone the gospel story. So everyone will have heard at least once, hopefully, and been able to make that choice. If we do not share, well, we are accountable for that, and those lives. Do you see? We are part of the plan of grace and mercy.
If you do not know the laws of God and still do them because they are good things to do and naturally you do good – you create a law for yourself. So either Jew (who knows better) or Gentile (who by nature knows and creates laws to be better) – we all know we aren’t supposed to sin!

 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”
We know right from wrong, so much so we try to hide our wrongs. Like Adam hid from God after the first sin. Like we all try to avoid God when we do something we knew was wrong.  Sometimes we rationalize it and press it down so much we start to believe it is forgiven and washed away, even though we never asked forgiveness or repented. Sometimes we hid it from ourselves thinking we hid it from God.

Let’s make sure we understand the modern application. ALL over this globe we live on, Christians have been praying for their evil leaders to turn to God and lead us righteously. We recognize that bad leaders is a judgement of God and we have repented, fasted and prayed. We called out to God to turn our leaders heart OR Judge this as evil and deliver us from it. Here is the small catch with that – when God Judges, it is universal. Some get judged (wrath) and some get vindicated (declared righteous and restored). God says His judgements will start in His house. Internationally we are seeing exposure in the churches all over the world. Doesn’t take a prophet to see this coming! All we need is to understand the Bible. You and I are next.
Paul’s wake up cry is this: He knows what it is like to be lied to by the devil and fall for it and still think he was still fervently serving God! He sees the signs of it stirring in the Roman believers. Either they didn’t really know, or were lied to – either way, the wrath of God is coming for them; and Paul is desperately crying out in love to them to expose it and show it.
You and I have the added grace to be able to be alone in a space reading this blog, or get alone, and sort this out with God in private. Thank you Jesus that we are not being exposed publicly!
And you may be thinking, this is way to firm and direct and aggressive and I am fine. It is you who should be the most afraid. We all found ourselves on that initial list. None of us are perfect and never commit a sin. And we do reach new plateaus – but if that is where you are, then new things are now prohibited to you and you have new sin struggles as you shed off more of your fleshly desires and become more Christ-like. At each peak, we meet the next mountain to climb.  

Back when this was written, there was an argument: ‘but I am a Jew and I am fine”. So Paul addresses it in verses 17 through 24.
17 Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, 18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. 21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.”
It reminds me of a dear brother who learned a lesson the hard way. He was a leader of the boy’s ministry and taught and was good and upright. But he had a problem with speeding. He loved fast cars and going fast. Out of his position with the boys, he often had to correct them or discuss sin problems. He was often pretty direct and hard, but because he loved the boys and wanted them to succeed. On day, he was called out on his sin of speeding in a small group of those same boys. He joked and blew it off. Later, to his embarrassment parents and other leaders came to him to address it. He said the right things and apologized – all was well. Two weeks later he got a speeding ticket and it was published in the police docket in the newspaper! (Yes, years ago – they do not publish speeding tickets anymore.) Immediately he was asked to resign from leading the boys.
You see this passage (of 17 to 24) can be for anyone or group who think that they are exempt from what Paul is teaching here. We are all in this same boat – no one is in a better boat.

During the beginning of the pandemic, people were saying we are all in the same boat. Then people started pointing out how some had cruise ships while other had old row boats with holes. BUT with God, we are all the same. We are all equally treated based on our actions. We all start in sin and once we believe we act like people who have been justified, and we stand firm in a position of justified. Or do we? The sad, honest truth is we do not, therefore Paul wrote this book.

And the final paragraph of this chapter addresses the fact that we are talking about actions and inward thoughts (secrets) and not outward things. To the Jews who thought just by being Jews they were somehow holier than the Gentiles he wrote:

25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? 27 And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”

But this very much has to do with anyone who outwardly dresses a certain way in order to show they are holier than thou. Or in any way sets themselves apart as holier than thou. It is the spirit of religion, the same description Jesus used to describe Pharisees: with loud prayers that are fancy, and a certain dress and a certain seat or assigned spot on stage or at the best tables at the feast, the served and not the servers. Do you remember that from back in Matthew, a few months ago?

So today, after we recall yesterday’s lesson and continue to make sure our roots are healthy, we learn about a critical judgmental attitude and / or a spirit of religion. If it is a demon whispering in your ear telling you to criticize or your insecurity compelling you or if it is your need to be seen and justified by man and not wait on the Lord for His vindication…  we need to make sure we do not carry this attitude and action.

Lord, please help us humbly evaluate ourselves and no matter the reason it is here, please clear it out of our life. Let us remember, to glorify you and not our self by thinking we are exempt. Lord, you are enough, and we will repent, ask forgiveness and wait on your justification. Lord, please justify us, redeem us, save us from our self-destruction, and restore us.  We have acted out of flesh, sin and lies we bought and are truly sorry. We do not deserve to be justified, so we rely on grace to get us to where we need to be today; be it back where we started or starting at a new plateau closer to you. Help us as we go through this book to see our sins, compromises, and actions outside of your will for our lies, expose us gently in love and draw us to you. Thank you for holding us accountable for our actions and correcting us to draw us closer and make us more like you. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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