Friday, July 31, 2015

Romans 2:6 - Judgment is Coming

Romans 2:6 – ὅς ἀποδώσει ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ·

Romans 2:6 – who will repay each one according to his work:

Commentary and devotion – Judgment is Coming
There is a day of God’s wrath and righteous judgment. This is when God will repay everyone according to their works. ἀποδώσει is the future of ἀποδίδωμι, which combines two words: δίδωμι means give. ἀπο is a prepositional word meaning from. Together, the word means give from or pay, repay, or render. Let’s be honest, do you really want God to repay you according to your works? Who would?

ἑκάστῳ is in the dative form and means to each. The emphasis is on the individual. This is in line with the Law of Moses, which states that a child will not be responsible for his father’s sin but rather each one is accountable for themselves and their actions. There is a sense also that each judgment will be in reference to a standard outside of others – i.e. no one is judged based on someone else’s performance or someone else’s lack of performance.

In fact, κατὰ, meaning according to, gives the reference point of judgment. It’s a ratio preposition. In the same manner one thing happens, the second thing will happen. The judgment is according to one’s work or actions. Even in this, though, we see God obviously holds a standard by which our works are measured. We’ll see that standard in the next two verses.

Until then, though, find relief in the fact that Jesus performed for you. May this be a day of thanksgiving.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known… –Romans 3:21

ὅς – who
ἀποδώσει – will give, give back, pay, render, repay, reward (3rd person singular future active indicative of ἀποδίδωμι)
ἑκάστῳ - each
κατὰ - according to
τὰ - the
ἔργα – work

αὐτοῦ - his

Friday, July 10, 2015

Romans 2:5 - Immovable

Romans 2:5 – κατὰ δὲ τὴν σκληρότητά σου καὶ ἀμετανόητον καρδίαν θησαυρίζεις σεαυτῷ ὀργὴν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ὀργῆς καὶ ἀποκαλύψεως δικαιοκρισίας τοῦ θεοῦ

Romans 2:5 – but according to your stubbornness and obstinate heart you store up wrathful judgment in the day of wrath and righteous judgment of God

Commentary and devotion – Immovable
The riches of God’s kindness and tolerance lead us to repentance as stated in the previous verse. That we refuse to believe and embrace that truth is the surprise revealed in this verse. The implication is intense. 

σκληρότητά means stubbornness or hardness. ἀμετανόητον means unrepentant or obstinate. The idea is one who refuses to change their opinion or point of view despite attempts to persuade them otherwise. The picture is a pleading or a wooing by God Almighty and yet a deaf ear and stubborn heart is what He receives.

Something to note is that our refusal to change and repent is the source of why we judge others. Not only does this affect our interpersonal relationships but wrathful judgment accumulates. κατὰ is a measuring preposition that means according to or just as. But judgment from God doesn’t build in equal measure. The meaning here is in the same way that we refuse to repent (and judge others as a result) God builds a similar heart toward us. This is after plenty of wooing, pleading, and drawing on God’s part.

ἡμέρᾳ is translated day with a straightforward meaning. We should note, though, this refers to a specific time in the future. There is a day of judgment. There is a day when every thought and intention of the heart comes before Almighty God. It seems, though, that God has eternal hope for the Scriptures still plead, Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart – Isaiah 8:18. What an amazing God! What a merciful Savior!

κατὰ - according to, corresponding to, just as
δὲ - but
τὴν – the
σκληρότητά – stubbornness 
σου – of your 
καὶ - and 
ἀμετανόητον – obstinate 
καρδίαν – heart
θησαυρίζεις – store up, save (2nd person singular present active indicative of 
σεαυτῷ - judgment
ὀργὴν – wrath, anger, retribution
ἐν – in
ἡμέρᾳ - day
ὀργῆς – wrath, anger, retribution
καὶ - and
ἀποκαλύψεως – revelation 
δικαιοκρισίας – righteous judgment
τοῦ - of the

θεοῦ - God

Friday, July 3, 2015

Romans 2:4 - The "Why" Behind "Don't Judge"

Romans 2:4 – ἤ τοῦ πλούτου τῆς χρηστότητος αὐτου καὶ τῆς ἀνοχῆς καὶ τῆς μακροθυμίας καταφρονεῖς, ἀγνοῶν ὅτι τὸ χρηστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰς μετάνοιάν σε ἄγει;

Romans 2:4 – Or do you think nothing of the riches of His kindness and His tolerance and His patience, disregarding that the kindness of God brings you to repentance?

Commentary and devotion – The "Why" Behind "Don’t Judge"
Have you ever done something only later to have someone comment how great a cost you paid to do it? And inside, you think, that wasn’t a big deal. In fact, you didn’t even consider any cost. You just did what needed to be done. καταφρονεῖς from καταφρονέω means to think nothing of or to despise. Hebrews 12:2 uses this word when it says Jesus went to the cross, despising its shame. He thought little of the shame of the cross. That was not in his consideration. In our verse today, Paul uses this word to ask if that is how his audience is viewing the kindness and tolerance of God. ἀνοχῆς which I translated tolerance could also be translated long-suffering. One Greek dictionary translates it holding back. The tolerance here is the very tolerance God showed to me and to you as He considered our sinful state. He held back in reference to the hostilities of our life. Our sinful state was in direct violation of His being. He, of course, has all power to wipe us out. Yet He held back. He showed unbelievable tolerance, actually.

Why, though? Why would God hold back? It is not because we were a great person. He held back because of His χρηστότητος or kindness. Kindness and mercy are amplified by πλούτου, a word that means extravagance or riches. God was wildly kind and wildly tolerant of us and our sin and filth. In that state, He provided a way of hope through Jesus Christ. And we believed! And we found hope! We found new life and true life in Christ.

The argument Paul is making at this point is this: when we consider our own salvation, surely we say, Wow! What a savior. What a God. When we consider that, how can we not show mercy toward our fellow man and woman? When we see the filth and grime of our fellow person’s soul coming through their actions, might we begin to think, there’s hope for you in Christ. As we interact and delve deep with them in life, might we begin to share the extravagance of the forgiveness of God in our own lives and share that that same extravagance doesn’t stop with us but can land on them as well. Perhaps that why Paul will soon enough quote the prophet Joel:

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. – Joel 2:32

ἤ - or
τοῦ - the
πλούτου – extravagance, riches
τῆς – of the
χρηστότητος – goodness of heart, kindness 
αὐτου – of him, his
καὶ - and
τῆς – of the
ἀνοχῆς – tolerance
καὶ - and
τῆς – of the
μακροθυμίας – patience 
καταφρονεῖς – despise, treat with contempt, think nothing of, look down on (2nd person singular present active indicative of καταφρονέω )
ἀγνοῶν – disregarding (singular masculine nomative present active participle of ἀγνοέω)
ὅτι – that
τὸ - the
χρηστὸν – kindness
τοῦ - of the
θεοῦ - God
εἰς – into, to
μετάνοιάν – repentance
σε – you

ἄγει – moves, brings, goes (2nd person singular present active indicative of ἄγω)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Romans 2:3 - No Escape

Romans 2:3 – λογίζῃ δὲ τοῦτο, ὦ ἄνθρωπε ὁ κρίνων τοὺς τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντας καὶ ποιῶν αὐτά, ὅτι σὺ ἐκφεύξῃ τὸ κρίμα τοῦ θεοῦ;

Romans 2:3 – but reckon this, o man, you who judge those who practice such things and do those things yourself, will you yourself escape the judgment of God?

Commentary and devotion – No escape
Romans 2:1 gave an exhortation not to judge using two indictments. First, are you an actual judge or in the place of God to judge in the first place? Secondly, the one who judge the actions in others actually does the same things. Our verse today declares that the same judgment coming against the outrageous sinners in chapter 1 is also coming against the haughty and judgmental.

λογίζῃ is a word that means reckon, count, or calculate. Because of trial and error there is an expectation that is formed; reasoning has drawn a conclusion. The author wants reasoning to draw the conclusion that those who judge will not escape the judgment of God. ἐκφεύξῃ means escape. Of people, it can mean to be acquitted or to be freed from a charge of guilt. However, Paul says an acquittal will never take place the case of one who judges another and yet does the same things. I think it would be safe to say that our judgment of others rallies the judgment of God against us. Even as I write this blog, I am forced to consider how I judge others. I alluded in a previous post to my being a bit of Pharisee so there are several things that immediately came to mind.

Our only hope is the cross. We have experienced forgiveness and hope because Jesus died for our sins. Therefore, instead of judgmental attitudes toward others, mercy erupts. Imagine seeing vile actions in another and immediately thinking there is forgiveness and hope for them at the cross. Jesus has a place for them in the Kingdom through faith. Why would I ever bar the way for any to come to Christ? Jesus Himself found a way of forgiveness for the thief on the cross next to Him.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. – Titus 2:11

λογίζῃ - reckon, count, calculate (2nd person singular present middle imperative of λογίζομαι)
δὲ - but, of
τοῦτο – this
ὦ - O
ἄνθρωπε – man
ὁ - who 
κρίνων – separate, put asunder, judge (masculine singular nomative present active participle of κρίνω)
τοὺς – of the
τὰ - things
τοιαῦτα – such as this
πράσσοντας – practicing (masculine plural accusative present active participle of πράσσω)
καὶ - and
ποιῶν – making (masculine singular nomative present active participle of ποιέω)
αὐτά – self, of oneself
ὅτι – that, because, may mark the beginning of a discourse
σὺ - you
ἐκφεύξῃ - will you escape (2nd person singular future active indicative of έκφεύγω)
τὸ - the
κρίμα – judgment, decision
τοῦ - of the

θεοῦ - of God

Friday, June 19, 2015

Romans 2:2 - Do Not Judge

Romans 2:2 – οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι τὸ κρίμα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν κατὰ ἀλήθειαν ἐπὶ τοὺς τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντας.

Romans 2:2 – but we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those practicing such things.

Commentary and devotion – Do Not Judge
The other day while on the seven-mile commute to work, I found myself stuck behind a slow driver. All kinds of thoughts went through my head. Moron. Where did you learn to drive? These are all judgments against the other driver who I never even met. According to Romans 2:1, I do the very same things. I’ve been flipped off and honked at. I’ve evidently infuriated other drivers as well.

Our verse today contrasts our judgments with those of God. ἀλήθεια means truth. The opposite is of course a lie but also mere appearance. κατὰ is a preposition that with the accusative (the form ἀλήθεια is in) means in accordance with or according to. There is a sense of conformity by using κατὰ . It could also be translated as. The judgment of God is as truth.  This definition is in line with reality. God does not need to set a standard. He is the standard. Therefore, His judgments and pronouncements declare truth. This is what Paul is getting at. The contrast between God’s judgments and our judgments is quite distinct. According to the previous verse, when we judge someone, the very thing we judge them for is actually present in our lives. However, God judges correctly.

Paul is helping us realize we have no right to judge. The only one with merit to do so is Almighty God. Romans 12:19 will say, Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. I wonder if judging others is a subtle form of revenge.

By the way, the impetus of this verse is do not judge. The impetus of this verse is not do not judge me. The push of this verse is toward the reader – not those the reader comes in contact with. If you are like me, you mind goes immediately to those we cannot change instead of ourselves, the only one we can do something about. Although, without the help of Christ, we are not so successful at even changing ourselves. Today, may we not worry about judging others and may we rest in God’s ability to govern all things.

οἴδαμεν – we know (1st person plural perfect active indicative of οἴδα)
δὲ - but
ὅτι – that, because
τὸ - the
κρίμα – decision, judgment
τοῦ - of the
θεοῦ - God
ἐστιν – is (3rd person singular present indicative of εἰμί)
κατὰ - with, together, according to
ἀλήθειαν – truth
ἐπὶ - on, at, in, against
τοὺς – of the
τὰ - the
τοιαῦτα – such, like, such of a kind

πράσσοντας – acting, practicing (plural masculine accusative present active participle of πράσσω)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Romans 2:1 - Righteous Sinners

Romans 2:1 – Διὸ ἀναπολόγητος εἶ, ὦ ἄνθρωπε πᾶς ὁ κρίνων· ἐν ᾧ γὰρ κρίνεις τὸν ἕτερον, σεαυτὸν κατακρίνεις, τὰ γὰρ αὐτὰ πράσσεις ὁ κρίνων.

Romans 2:1 – Therefore, you are without excuse, o man who judge. For he who judges the other, passes judgment on himself, for you do the same as the one you judge.

Commentary and devotion – Righteous Sinners
In Romans 1:28, God handed a people over to a depraved mind. Verses 29-31 described that mind using twenty-two words. Then verse 32 condemned them saying not only did they do those things but also approved of others who did them. However, our verse today condemns those outside that context. The ones under critique today are those who judge those describe at the end of the first chapter. It’s almost like wagging your head at someone who made a lousy stock investment. You’re incredulous that they invested anything in that stock. Yet little do you realize the stocks you own are on the brink of plummeting.

κρίνω appears three times in our verse and its variation, κατακρίνω, appears once. κρίνω means judge or decide, whereas κατακρίνω means pass judgment or give as sentence against. Outside the appropriate court of law, both of these words carry a certain haughtiness with them. A choosing or a picking out takes place. The first indictment against the one judging asks, who are you to judge in the first place? Are you in the place of God?

The second indictment is even worse. It declares the one who judges, in fact, does the very things he rails against. It is this exact reason we have little patience with politicians or with preachers who boast righteousness yet are embezzling or abusing others. πράσσεις is the word translated do as in you do the same things. This word also means practice. It carries the weight of intentional doing and practicing or studying that which you are doing. So not only is the one who judges doing the same things but they are actively practicing those things. Those things are not one-time slip-ups.

But now look at this verse in light of the Cross. Jesus died for sinners of which He was not one. He provides hope even for the most vile of sinners – even those described in the end of Romans 1. Yet He also died for the sinner who sees himself as righteous and as different or above other sinners. These two groups are similar to the younger and older brothers in the parable of the prodigal son. Chapter 1 described people who do things clearly defined as sin. Chapter 2 will begin to describe those who think they are righteous and cannot fathom being identified as sinful. Which is your leaning, though? Mine is definitely the latter. Praise God the Cross is for both groups!

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. - 1 Timothy 1:15

Διὸ - therefore, for this reason, wherefore, on which account
ἀναπολόγητος – without excuse
εἶ - are (2nd person singluar present indicative of εἰμί)
ὦ - O! (interjection – used to express emotion)
ἄνθρωπε – man
πᾶς – all
ὁ - who
κρίνων – judging (singular masculine nomative present active participle of κρίνω)
ἐν – in
ᾧ - he, who
γὰρ – for
κρίνεις – judges (2nd person singular present active indicative of κρίνω)
τὸν – the
ἕτερον – other, another, different, strange
σεαυτὸν – yourself
κατακρίνεις – pass judgment (2nd person singular present active indicative of κατακρίνω)
τὰ - the
γὰρ – for
αὐτὰ - the same 
πράσσεις – do, practice (2nd person singular present active indicative of πράσσω)
ὁ - who

κρίνων – judging (singular masculine nomative present active participle of κρίνω)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Romans 1:32 - Who Are We Fooling?

Romans 1:32 – οἵτινες τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπιγνόντες ὅτι οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες ἄξιοι θανάτου εἰσίν, οὐ μόνον αὐτὰ ποιοῦσιν ἀλλὰ καὶ συνευδοκοῦσιν τοῖς πράσσουσιν.

Romans 1:32 – Who, knowing the decree of God that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same things but also join in approving those who practice [those things].

Commentary and devotion – Who Are We Fooling?
Our current law says that ignorance is no excuse. In the case of our verse, however, ignorance is not the case. Rebellion is. The previous three verses contained twenty-two words describing the “such things” that are practiced. ἐπιγινώσκω is the key verb in the first part of our verse. γινώσκω means to know something experientially. ἐπι means upon or toward. Together, ἐπιγινώσκω means to observe, know, or recognize. It also means to come to a judgment about something. So in this verse, they know experientially the decrees of God and have come to a judgment about them.

πράσσοντες from πράσσω means practicing. It includes the art of studying and then acting. Sin is often defined as missing the mark. You might think of someone who “slips” almost unaware they are committing a sin. However, πράσσω carries the weight of action with intent and clarity of mind. The twenty-two words of the previous three verses are πράσσοντες or practiced with beforehand thought and desire.

In just the first part of our verse today, we see those who practice the “such things” (the twenty-two descriptors in the previous three verses) do so with intent. Not only that, but they cognitively and experientially know and realize that those things are worthy of death in the eyes of God. I recently ate a meal with a state trooper and had to ask at what speed does he pull a driver over and ticket them. He said it was quite subjective but for him he realized someone going ten over the speed limit might be trying to pass someone or be in the middle of a conversation and not realize what they were doing. But he said at fifteen over, there was intention. They knew what they were doing. Our verse today speaks to those who are going fifteen over the speed limit. They know what they are doing.

Before we justify and congratulate ourselves on not being those kind of people, according to the next chapter in Romans, we are in fact those very people! Our hearts run toward rebellion – toward opposition to Almighty God. At this point, though, the goodness of the gospel hits us. Jesus gives us a new heart. By trusting Him, He enables us to rightly see ourselves. What is our response at rightly seeing ourselves? Remorse? Shame? Self-pity? I think it might actually be laughter. Laughter at our arrogance and self-control. Who are we fooling? Only Christ can set us free from these things. May you join in the laughter today!

Rebellion is like the sin of divination and arrogance like the evil of idolatry – 1 Samuel 15:23

οἵτινες – who, whoever
τὸ - the
δικαίωμα – ordinance, decree, regulation
τοῦ - of the
θεοῦ - of God
ἐπιγνόντες – knowing (plural masculine nomative aorist active participle of ἐπιγινώσκω)
ὅτι – because, that
οἱ - those
τὰ - things
τοιαῦτα – such, of such kind, similar, like
πράσσοντες – practicing (plural masculine nomative present active participle of πράσσω)
ἄξιοι – worthy
θανάτου – of death
εἰσίν – are (3rd person plural present indicative of εἴμι)
οὐ - not
μόνον – only
αὐτὰ - the same things
ποιοῦσιν – do (3rd person plural present active indicative of ποιέω
ἀλλὰ - but
καὶ - also
συνευδοκοῦσιν – join in approving, give one’s consent (3rd person plural present active indicative of συνευδοκέω)
τοῖς – those

πράσσουσιν – which practice (plural masculine dative present active participle of πράσσω)