Despising The Goodness Of God:
Wrong Thinking Leads To Wrong Living

In a Brief Survey of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Based on sermons preached in PCC Worship Services, July 2003 to Sep 2005
Part 9b of 83

1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. 2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 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” (Romans 2:1-5).

[This is the second instalment of our study of Romans 2:1-5. Paul is here seeking to show that all men are guilty before God regardless whether we are Gentile, Jewish or Christian. We considered in our first instalment how, even as believers, we are guilty and inexcusable because though we condemn the Gentiles, we do the same things as they do. But why? The first is given in verses 2-3 whereas the second is given in verses 4-5. In this second instalment we must consider Paul’s first reason.]

2. Wrong Thinking Leads
to Wrong Living

a.   Addressing the man who commits the same sins he condemns, Paul says:

3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

It is hard to imagine how a man who knows that God will judge lawless deeds, will do lawless deeds. What could be the reason? “Could it be,” Paul is saying, “that you think you are a special breed? Could it be that you think the judgement of God will not touch you? Could it be that you think God will judge others, but not you? Could it be that your mind is functioning like a reprobate mind? You are not thinking correctly. You know what is right, but somehow you persuade yourself that you can sin, and escape God’s judgement?”

b.   Who is Paul speaking to? Not just to the Jews. He is speaking to us,—to the man. “thinkest thou this, O man…” He is speaking to you and me individually.

Here is one great reason why the church is not as zealous and obedient as it ought to be. Here is one great reason why there are many professing believers who have no qualms about living like the world.

I sometimes speak to professing believers about their lives, and they tell me:

·   I know what is right. I know what you are telling me is what the Bible teaches us, but you know, we are so used to the old ways…

·   I know that is God’s best, but I am not willing to sacrifice the comfort and luxury that I am enjoying…

·   I know it is sinful, but I can’t help myself…

·   I know it is not right, but everyone is doing it, surely God will be merciful to me.

·   I know what the Bible says, but I just don’t know it will be helpful for me at the moment to do as it seems to suggest…

c.   Beloved brethren, could it be that you are doing the things you know are wrong because you are somehow entertaining the idea that you can sin with impunity?

Could it be that you are misusing the doctrine of election and grace? Could you, somehow be thinking: “I am a Christian, therefore God’s wrath will not touch me. Did not the pastor say, ‘once saved always saved?’”

Are you compromising? Are you spinning excuses for yourself? Are you doing these things because, at the back of your mind you believe that you can escape God’s wrath unlike the heathen.

If this is how you are thinking, then I am afraid you are thinking wrongly. Your life is wrong because you are thinking wrongly. Oh will you not think alright?

It is dangerous for Christians to have wrong thinking. What Paul has given is just one of the many ways by which wrong thinking leads to wrong living. But are there there not other ways when wrong thinking has led to wrong ways of life?

I am afraid that a large part of visible Christendom have been fed false doctrine, and the result is that they have lived wrongly.

Why do many Christians go out shopping on the Lord’s Day?

Why is it that most Christian families no longer have family worship?

Why is it that spiritual instruction of children is no longer a priority in many Christian homes?

Why is it that the singing of psalms has become a strange thing to many Christians?

The apostle Paul tells us in chapter 12 that we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. If our minds are filled with wrong doctrine, we will think wrongly and we will live wrongly.

It is dangerous to live wrongly as Christians. Wrong thinking can mean a hypocritical Christian life.

Remember how our Lord warned that there will be many who will call Him Lord, Lord at the last day. But He will say unto them, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mt 7:23). The word ‘iniquity’ may be literally translated ‘lawlessness.’ Christ is saying: “I never knew you: depart from me, ye have lived as you like without regard to my word.”

Beloved and friends, if you continue to think wrongly, and live wrongly, you are in dangerous ground. You may be living as a hypocrite. There are no hypocrites in heaven.

The apostle would have us to know that God’s wrath will be revealed against hypocrites.….

… to be continued next issue

JJ Lim