I remember vividly the OJ Simpson trial – did he do it? Did he not? And even after the verdict was given having mixed feelings. Well, some day all of us will stand before God and there won’t be any question if His justice is right. It will be.
After explaining God’s wrath and judgment against immoral people (1:18-32), Paul now proclaims God’s judgment on moral, “good” people. They are equally condemned! Paul gives 6 principles by which God judges men: Self righteousness (1), truth (2-3), our hearts (4-5), what we do (6-10), impartiality (11-15) and our motives (16). It’s always a heart issue with God and in 14-16 there is no denying that God has made it clear that there ARE absolutes (right & wrong) and He has put that in everyone’s hearts!
All people have some kind of knowledge of God’s “invisible attributes”, eternal power and divine nature., and can discern basic right & wrong because of their conscience/heart (2:15) and know that those who do not live up to God’s righteous standards deserve death (1:32). YET they hope to escape God’s judgment and to do so come up with all kinds of false ideas. For example, ever believe you are basically good and God would not send good people to hell? You know, do more good than bad and you’re in? Or believing that God is too loving to send anyone to hell. Or the idea that there is no God and the idea of judgment is crazy. Or believing you can earn God’s acceptance by going to church, giving to poor, helping others, loving others, etc… These are all false securities and the Jewish people of Paul’s day had them (17-29). They thought they were “in” with God because of their heritage (17), because they knew God’s Word & what was right & wrong (18-24) and because they did all the “churchy” stuff (25-29).
NEVER FORGET THIS: God’s Acceptance of me is never based on my PERFORMANCE (external actions), but on my 100% TRUST & BELIEF (internal attitude) in Christ’s performance for me! It’s about a relationship, not the “rules.”
*How do we view ourselves? By comparing ourselves with others (which brings pride or self-pity) OR by comparing ourselves with God’s standards of righteousness (which brings us to our knees)?
*What are some false securities that you & I tend to trust in to make us right before God? Our talents? Popularity? Going to church or student ministry? Hey my parents go to church? Witnessing? I’ve been baptized? Good looks (ok, maybe not)? Regardless – take a moment and confess any of these you do to God and then THANK Him that He accepts you IN CHRIST!