Monday: No Favouritism – Romans 2:1-11
Some Jews believed they held a privileged position with God because they belonged to His chosen people. They thought they could do as they liked. Paul is telling them that they will be judged just like everyone else. Do we sometimes think to ourselves that God will be more lenient on us because we come to church and help in various ministries? Let’s not make that mistake. God is not going to show favour to anybody who thinks that the outward show of ‘religion’ is sufficient. Remember how Jesus condemned the Pharisees!
Tuesday: Unwritten Law – Romans 2:12-16
Paul gives an answer to that thorny question: “what happens to people who never hear the gospel?” He tells us everyone will be judged by what he or she had the opportunity to know. If they knew the Law, that’s how they would be judged. If they were not familiar with the Law, then they would be judged on the basis of the unwritten law that God has placed in the heart of everyone – our conscience and ability to distinguish between right and wrong. God is fair.
Wednesday: Holier-than-thou! – Romans 2:17-29
Paul now takes his criticism one step further. He has warned the Jews about their deluded belief that their ‘Jewishness’ would buy favour with God. Now he wants them to understand that the arrogance and contempt they show for Gentiles is bringing the very name of God into disrepute. Are we ever guilty of displaying a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude to those who do not share our faith? Our salvation is God’s gift to us (Eph 2:8). We cannot take credit for it.
Thursday: Privilege vs Responsibility – Romans 3:1-8
Paul’s argument starts to become convoluted at this stage! He is concerned that his Jewish readers were putting too much emphasis on their privilege of being God’s chosen people. They acted as though this gave them a right to act as they wished. Paul wants them to understand that their ‘Jewishness’ brings with it responsibilities. He also utterly condemns those who try to construct an argument that the fact of their wilful sin allows God to display His righteousness by way of contrast. He is not condemning their faith only their self-serving misuse of it.
Friday: Beyond the Pale? – Romans 3:9-18
Paul strings together quotes from a number of OT sources to make his point: the man, who is without Jesus, is sinful in character, speech and behaviour. But it is clear from Paul’s writings that he never subscribed to the idea that humanity, no matter how bad, was beyond the pale. Are we ever tempted to look at someone and make the assumption that they are beyond salvation? Never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit to bring evil to its knees!
Saturday: The Only Way – Romans 3:19-26
Paul’s arguments don’t become any easier! Humanity’s biggest problem is how to be reconciled to God; how we can have peace with God. Paul says we must first acknowledge our sinfulness. Then our personal powerlessness to rectify this. Having arrived at this point, God will ‘justify’ us in His own eyes through the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for each one of us. With that step in place we are freed from the power of sin to inflict death. Amen! And our relationship with our heavenly Father is restored.