Romans 2

That judgest; that condemnest others on account of their sins. The apostle has in mind the Jews especially.

Doest the same; committest similar sins. Men often practise what they condemn in others, without considering that in so doing they condemn themselves.
Or despisest thou; they who take occasion from God's long-suffering to go boldly on in sin, throw contempt upon his goodness.

Not knowing; it is a willful and guilty ignorance, for it has its ground in forgetfulness of God. When the goodness, patience, and long-suffering of God encourage men in sin instead of leading them to forsake it, it is fearful evidence that they are ripening for ruin.
To every man according to his deeds; when the question is, What is the ground on which sinners, who have broken God's law, can be justified? Paul always answers, By faith, and not by the deeds of the law. Chap Ro 3:28; Ga 2:16, etc. But when the question is, What character will God accept? he answers with James, "Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified:" verse Ro 2:13, compared with Jas 1:22-25; 2:14-26. True faith in Christ always makes men such "doers of the law." The faith that is without works is dead, Jas 2:26, and will be disowned by Christ at the last day. Mt 7:21-27. Them that are contentious; who contend against the truth, rebel against God, and do what they know to be wrong. The Jew first; especially to him, on account of his abuse of superior light and privileges. The Jew first; on account of his wise improvement of his peculiar blessings. Mt 25:21; Lu 19:17. Great advantages, if rightly improved, will be the means of increasing future blessedness; if neglected and abused, or increasing future woe. No respect of persons; God will not treat men according to their color, country, or outward condition, but according to their character and conduct. Sinned without law; without a written law or revelation of duty.

Perish without law; without being condemned for rejecting or sinning against a revelation which they never had.

In the law; in possession of a written revelation.

By the law; according to the revelation which they had.
Hearers of the law; those who have a written revelation of the will of God, and know their duty.

Doers of the Law; those who do their duty.
Not the law; the written law.

Things contained in the law; such things as the law requires.

These; such as have not the light of revelation--the heathen.

Are a law; they have a sense of moral right and wrong, arising from the moral nature or conscience which God has given them.
The work of the law; its effect in producing a conviction of duty, and of guilt in not doing it.

Accusing--excusing; as they have done or not done what they thought to be right. No man will be condemned for want of light, or for violating a law which he never had; but for neglecting the light which God gave him, and doing what he knew to be wrong.
According to my gospel; the judgment of the last day will be by Jesus Christ, as is revealed in the gospel which Paul preached. This verse is connected in sense with the twelfth; what intervenes is a parenthesis. A Jew; a friend of God--one of his peculiar people.

Restest in the law; dependest upon the possession and external observance of it for salvation.

Makest thy boast of God; of having him for thy God, while the Gentiles had other gods. Belonging outwardly to the true church and attending upon its ordinances, is no certain evidence of true religion, of the favor of God, or preparation for heaven.
Out of the law; out of the Scriptures. Teachest thou not thyself? to practise what thou teachest. Commit sacrilege; by profaning divine things, and taking to thyself what belongs to God. Is blasphemed; spoken against and dishonored.

Through you; on account of the wicked conduct of the Jews as God's professed people, as it was of old. Isa 52:5; Eze 36:23. Members of the church who live in immorality, greatly dishonor God, increase the wickedness of men, and prepare for an awfully aggravated destruction.
Circumcision; this was one of the rites in which they gloried; and it was useful if, by directing their thoughts to that inward purity and consecration to God which it signified, it led them more faithfully to obey God. If it did not, it did them no good; they would be treated no better than if they had not been circumcised. The observance of ordinances is useful if it leads men more faithfully to obey God; if it does not, it does them no good; and dependence upon such observances for salvation if continued, will ruin them. The uncircumcision; those who have not been circumcised.

Keep the righteousness of the law; do from the light of nature the things which the law requires, verse Ro 2:14.
Uncircumcision--by nature; that is, the Gentile, who remains as he was born, uncircumcised.

Judge; condemn.

By the letter; with a written revelation.
Is not a Jew; in the spiritual sense, that of being a friend of God.

Outwardly; by outward descent from Abraham.

Neither is that circumcision; in the spiritual sense; that which God approves and will reward as obedience to him.
Inwardly; in heart devoted to God, as was Abraham. Compare our Saviour's words: "If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." Joh 8:39.

Of the heart, in the spirit; circumcision denoted the necessity of an inward, spiritual change, a real cutting off of sin, and the practice of holiness. This God will reward, not the mere outward observance.

Not of men; men look on the outward appearance, and often expect reward for what is only external.

Of God; he looks on the heart; and to be accepted of him, whatever men do they must do heartily as unto the Lord. His love must reign in their hearts, and his will govern their lives. Ordinances are designed to promote holiness of heart; if they do not, their object is not accomplished. However strict men may be in the outward observance, or however much praise they may receive for it from men, they are not approved and will not be accepted of God.
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