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God’s Impartial Judgment (Romans 2:1-16)

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“God’s Impartial Judgment”

(Romans 2:1-16)

Series: Romans – United in the Gospel [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

January 23, 2022

Introductory Comments:

Some of you may remember the biblical story of David sinning by taking Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, into his bed. Not only that, David had Uriah killed to try and cover his sin. This is how Nathan, the prophet, responded to David. Listen to 2 Samuel 12:1-9: 

1 So the Lord sent Nathan to David. When he arrived, he said to him:

There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very large flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one small ewe lamb that he had bought. He raised her, and she grew up with him and with his children. From his meager food she would eat, from his cup she would drink, and in his arms she would sleep. She was like a daughter to him. 4 Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man could not bring himself to take one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for his guest.

5 David was infuriated with the man and said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6 Because he has done this thing and shown no pity, he must pay four lambs for that lamb.”

7 Nathan replied to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you and your master’s wives into your arms, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah, and if that was not enough, I would have given you even more. 9 Why then have you despised the Lord’s command by doing what I consider evil? You struck down Uriah the Hethite with the sword and took his wife as your own wife—you murdered him with the Ammonite’s sword. 

You see, sometimes we easily see the sins of others, but we don’t notice our own sin. In fact, if we hear of someone doing exactly what we did, as David did, we are quick to see the act as a sin because we didn’t do it. 

However, God is the holy, righteous, perfect Judge. He sees all and knows all. He sees the sin of all and judges the sin of all. Today’s sermon is entitled, “God’s Impartial Judgment” [on screen]

No matter who we are, where we are from, how religious we think we are, God sees our sin. 

Last week, we learned that God will show His wrath towards sin and sinners. He does not excuse sin, He judges sin.

This week, Paul is going to continue that message but he is going to change the focus a bit.  

Before we go any further, let’s pray together and ask God to speak to us. 


As I was studying this week’s passage, one Bible teacher pointed out something that I thought was very helpful. In last week’s passage, Paul is pointing to the sin of godless people throughout the span of time. People had rejected God and turned towards sin. In last week’s passage, Paul used the words “they” and “them.” However, today, Paul will use the word “you.” Pay attention to how Paul shifts the focus in today’s passage. 

So, let’s see three aspects of God’s impartial judgment in today’s passage. 

First, . . .

I. Religious people will be judged. (1-5) [on screen]

When we speak of religious people, we mean people who seem to follow God but may not actually follow God. In fact, these people often think they are quite godly and others may think they are quite godly. However, Paul is saying that religiosity doesn’t necessarily help you when it comes to standing before the impartial, holy, righteous God of the universe. 

Let’s look at what Paul says about this. Look at verses 1-5:

1 Therefore, every one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth. 3 Do you think—anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same—that you will escape God’s judgment? 4 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? 5 Because of your hardened and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed.

Paul gets right to the point, doesn’t he? 

You see, in chapter 1 when Paul describes the sin of the world, he is primarily talking about the Gentile people of the world; those who are not Jewish. 

Now, Paul shifts his focus to the “super Christians” in Rome. These are people who were already God’s people because they were Jewish, then they accepted God’s Messiah, Jesus Christ. These are the people who had the law of God. They go all the way back to Abraham, Moses, David, and more. They probably feel that they have the religious pedigree that makes them God’s special people.

You might say that these are the ones who know all the books of the Bible, even the minor prophets at the back of the Old Testament. They grew up in the church nursery. They went to VBS. They tithe and they even go to small groups. 

Yet, Paul says, “ . . . every one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself.”

Paul says at the end of verse 1 that these people, “ . . . do the same things.”

The super religious people of the church of Rome may have been quick to judge the non-religious when they sin, but Paul says that they (the religious people) were sinning as well. 

Oh, by the way, verses 2-3 point out that God judges these sins, no matter who commits them. It doesn’t matter if you are Jewish or non-Jewish. If you’re from Rome or you’re from Bartow. If you’re a sinner, you’re a sinner and there is judgment reserved for sin. 

In verse 4, Paul points out that the religious people had taken advantage of God’s grace and kindness shown to them. 

He asks in verse 4, “do you despise the riches of his kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

What Paul is pointing out here is that we shouldn’t take advantage of God’s kindness shown towards us by continuing to sin (Paul will address this more in Romans 6). 

If you’ve ever been a supervisor, teacher, or coach, you know that at times you may show grace to those you lead and then find out later that those you lead are taking advantage of your kindness. Doesn’t that anger you? It makes me want to line everybody up and start running laps!

Well, this kind of behavior angers God as well! Paul says in verse 5 that when we act this way, we are “storing up wrath for [ourselves] on the day of wrath.”

Church, we need to understand this now, before the day of God’s wrath. It doesn’t matter if you’re religious, an American, from a good family, or a faithful Baptist; God still has wrath stored up for those who do not experience the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. 

First point: religious people will be judged.

Second, . . .

II. All people will be repaid. (6-11) [on screen]

In this passage we start to see that Paul is showing that when it comes to our standing before God, the lines that separate Jew and Gentile are starting to be erased. We are all guilty before God because of our sin and we are all saved by faith in God through Jesus the Messiah. We’re not going to see all that Paul has to say about this today, but we will begin our journey.

Look at verses 6-11: 

6 He will repay each one according to his works: 7 eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but wrath and anger to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth while obeying unrighteousness. 9 There will be affliction and distress for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no favoritism with God.

Did you catch this idea of the lines being erased? There will be judgment for those who do evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. And, there will be reward for all do good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 

Then, in case we were slow to pick up on what Paul is saying, he says explicitly in verse  11, “For there is no favoritism with God.”

Listen, church: all people will be repaid based on where they stand with God! Did they reject God’s ways or did they embrace God’s ways?

Everyone on earth must stand before God and give account for how they’ve handled God’s revelation of Himself and His ways to all of humanity. 

Now, we may be tempted to think this passage means that our standing with God is based solely on our good works. In fact, if you read only this passage, that’s definitely what it sounds like. However, this is not the case. 

If you just finish reading the book of Romans you will see that salvation is based on the grace of God and our faith in the work of Jesus to pay the penalty of our sins. 

When Paul speaks of good works, he’s speaking of the good works that result in our lives when we are truly changed by the grace of God through the work of Jesus. This is the same message of Jesus, James, Peter, and John as well. True faith leads to truly faithful living. True change leads to a truly changed life. This is what Paul is speaking about. 

So, all people will be repaid based on what they’ve done with God and His ways. 

Finally, . . . 

III. Faithful people will be justified. (12-16) [on screen]

Paul continues this discussion that he started earlier of how Jews and Gentiles are both judged and are totally held accountable for how they lived before God.

Look at verses 12-16:

12 For all who sin without the law will also perish without the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For the hearers of the law are not righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be justified. 14 So, when Gentiles, who do not by nature have the law, do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts either accuse or even excuse them 16 on the day when God judges what people have kept secret, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus.

What Paul is basically saying in verse 12 is that whether you have the law of God (as the Jewish people did) or not, you are still held guilty of your sin. Remember, as Paul said in chapter 1, the ways of God are written in Creation itself. So, all of us stand accountable to God and His ways. 

In fact, Paul says that some Gentiles have fulfilled what the law of God said even though they didn’t have the law of God. You see, because God’s ways are written in Creation itself, they sought to please God and live the ways of God as best they could. Paul says in verse 15, “ . . . the work of the law is written on their hearts.”

You see, it’s not just knowing God’s ways that matters, it’s loving and living God’s ways that matters. 

That’s why Paul says in verse 13, “For the hearers of the law are not righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be justified.”

Doesn’t verse 13 sound like it’s straight out of the book of James? James and Paul are not in conflict with one another as some have said, they are complementary to one another.  Only those who actually live out God’s ways are those who have true faith and have truly been changed by Jesus. 

Finally, in verse 16, Paul again points to God’s judgment of sin, even those sins that we keep secret from everyone else. 

God is the great impartial sin: all people, even religious people, will be judged; all will be repaid; and faithful people will be justified. 

Concluding Thoughts:

So, church, let us not think that if we are religious enough that we will be ok before God. God is not looking for those who are arrogant because they think they are holy; He is looking for those who are anointed by the Holy Spirit of God! God’s not looking for more religious people; He’s looking for more faithful people. God is not looking for more rule followers; He’s looking for more Jesus followers! 

So, let this bottom line summarize what Paul is telling us in this passage:

Bottom Line: Religious arrogance is not the way to escape God’s judgment. [on screen]


To be honest, religious arrogance won’t help you at all. In fact, it will only hurt you. 

As 1 Peter 5:5 says, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So, humble yourself before God. Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought. 

Come to God in repentance and in faith, for grace and forgiveness. 

Challenge yourself to live out this passage this week in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

1. Examine your life for religious arrogance. [on screen]

Do you think that you have a better standing with God because you go to church every week, or some weeks. Do you think because your name is on a church roll that your name is also written in heaven?

Paul makes it clear in this passage, and he will do so more as we continue on, that our religious showing-off doesn’t do anything to help us receive the favor of God. 

So, take some this week to examine your life for religious arrogance. 

2. Examine your life for unrepentant sin. [on screen]

Oftentimes, it’s very easy to see sin in other people’s lives, but it’s hard to see it in our own life. 

Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 7:3-5, “Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a beam of wood in your own eye? Hypocrite! First take the beam of wood out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.” [on screen]

So, take some time this week to examine your life for unrepentant sin. What do you need to confess to the Lord? Let us be open, let us be humble, and let us be willing to come before God in repentance. 


Folks, we all need God. Whether we came to God from a lifestyle of obvious outward sin or whether we are those who have the secret and respectable sins in our lives. God is not impressed with those of us who are religiously high and mighty! God has no free pass for those who fancy themselves as super-Christians. So, may we all come before God.

Let us not presume that God is impressed with our false religion. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!’” [on screen]

So, bring your sin to God. Come to Him to be made new and clean. God hates sin, but He offers love to sinners and He can take away the sin of sinners!

In 1 Peter 2:24, we learn how Jesus takes away the sin of sinners. Peter says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” [on screen]

Come to Jesus and be healed! Experience the forgiveness of Jesus! Die to sin and live for righteousness. 

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)

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