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Romans 2





Sinclair Buchanan Ferguson said that “The judgment of God “does not show favoritism.” And we see this very clearly in Romans 2:11–16

11 For God does not show favoritism. 12 When the Gentiles sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews, who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. 13 For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight. 14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. 16 And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.

The absolute justice of God and His commitment to righteousness are more than abstract qualities. They have concrete manifestations in the way He deals with people and in the manner, He distributes judgment. This is clearly true in His handling of the Jewish people. That they were specially privileged and specifically called to play a major role in the divine plan which cannot be denied. But it would be an insult to the divine integrity to suggest that the privileged position of the Jew meant they could expect special exemption from the consequences of their sin. Paul’s often-used expression, “to the Jew first and also to the Greek” shows that there is a clear difference in God’s eyes between Jew and Greek—that the Jew has a position of primacy—but this position of primacy also includes a primacy of judgment. The Jew who believes, with some justification, that they come first in God thinking must remember that the first place means first in judgment as well. If they want to believe they are first they must believe they are first in everything! Paul clearly stated this when he said,

“tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek” (v. 9).

If there is no partiality toward the Jew because of their privileged position, it’s equally true that there is no partiality toward the Gentile for their lack of privilege. The Jew who has the law and sins against it is responsible for their sin; the Gentile who does not have the law but sins anyway is equally responsible for their sin.

This is very fair. The unfairness would be if Jews were treated as if they didn’t have the law or if Gentiles were treated as if they did. The judgment of God is based on the light that people have received and their reaction to it, and it’s never based on the light they have not received.

In the same way that some people who have privilege abuse it, there are always those who, lacking privilege, rise above it. Paul speaks of the Gentiles who were never given the privilege of having the law of God, yet who had such sensitivity to what they knew of God that their consciences were sharp, alert, and in touch with reality.

The important thing for everyone to understand, Jew or Gentile, is that the judgment of God has no place for favoritism or exceptions, but it’s based strictly on the response of the individual to the knowledge of the truth that has been made available. That obviously means that the more privilege a person has, the more responsibility they hold.

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Jun 15, 2023

The first thought that comes to mind is what I learned in Every man a warrior. James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourself, Do what it says.” I love that God does not show favoritism. I appreciate each new dwell message that helps me gain new & better understanding of the word, thank you.

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