Romans 2

* The Jews could not be justified by the law of Moses, any more

than the Gentiles by the law of nature. (1-16) The sins of the

Jews confuted all their vain confidence in their outward

privileges. (17-29)

1-16 The Jews thought themselves a holy people, entitled to

their privileges by right, while they were unthankful,

rebellious, and unrighteous. But all who act thus, of every

nation, age, and description, must be reminded that the judgment

of God will be according to their real character. The case is so

plain, that we may appeal to the sinner's own thoughts. In every

wilful sin, there is contempt of the goodness of God. And though

the branches of man's disobedience are very various, all spring

from the same root. But in true repentance, there must be hatred

of former sinfulness, from a change wrought in the state of the

mind, which disposes it to choose the good and to refuse the

evil. It shows also a sense of inward wretchedness. Such is the

great change wrought in repentance, it is conversion, and is

needed by every human being. The ruin of sinners is their

walking after a hard and impenitent heart. Their sinful doings

are expressed by the strong words, "treasuring up wrath." In the

description of the just man, notice the full demand of the law.

It demands that the motives shall be pure, and rejects all

actions from earthly ambition or ends. In the description of the

unrighteous, contention is held forth as the principle of all

evil. The human will is in a state of enmity against God. Even

Gentiles, who had not the written law, had that within, which

directed them what to do by the light of nature. Conscience is a

witness, and first or last will bear witness. As they nature.

Conscience is a witness, and first or last will bear witness. As

they kept or broke these natural laws and dictates, their

consciences either acquitted or condemned them. Nothing speaks

more terror to sinners, and more comfort to saints, than that

Christ shall be the Judge. Secret services shall be rewarded,

secret sins shall be then punished, and brought to light.
17-24 The apostle directs his discourse to the Jews, and shows

of what sins they were guilty, notwithstanding their profession

and vain pretensions. A believing, humble, thankful glorying in

God, is the root and sum of all religion. But proud,

vain-glorious boasting in God, and in the outward profession of

his name, is the root and sum of all hypocrisy. Spiritual pride

is the most dangerous of all kinds of pride. A great evil of the

sins professors is, the dishonour done to God and religion, by

their not living according to their profession. Many despise

their more ignorant neighbours who rest in a dead form of

godliness; yet themselves trust in a form of knowledge, equally

void of life and power, while some glory in the gospel, whose

unholy lives dishonour God, and cause his name to be blasphemed.
25-29 No forms, ordinances, or notions can profit, without

regenerating grace, which will always lead to seeking an

interest in the righteousness of God by faith. For he is no more

a Christian now, than he was really a Jew of old, who is only

one outwardly: neither is that baptism, which is outward in the

flesh: but he is the real Christian, who is inwardly a true

believer, with an obedient faith. And the true baptism is that

of the heart, by the washing of regeneration and the renewal of

the Holy Ghost; bringing a spiritual frame of mind, and a

willing following of truth in its holy ways. Let us pray that we

may be made real Christians, not outwardly, but inwardly; in the

heart and spirit, not in the letter; baptized, not with water

only, but with the Holy Ghost; and let our praise be, not of

men, but of God.
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