Oh, how often our thoughts get us into
trouble; how we lack in the most important things of life because our thought patterns are wrong. It is good to have light cast on our own thinking so that we can say, but , I thought.
“But, I thought I was okay.” My opinion was based on the lives of others. My standard was my own and not of one higher than myself.
Romans 2 of Paul’s letter is one of those lights from God’s word that brings conviction against my own standard. In light of God’s law the Jew nor the Gentile is okay. I cannot look at others I consider more sinful than I am to determine my status before Him. Without full obedience to His commands I stand condemned under His law. Even those who do what is right without knowing the law are in the same boat.
Paul is emphasizing again the need of faith in the gospel that is provided for our salvation.
“But, I thought my works were good enough.” The gospel shows me that works cannot save me from the friendship of the world of which we all are condemned.
All the good stuff that I do is but vanity; a mark of my own standard.
Paul is laying the foundation in this chapter, and building on it a means of our receiving the power of the gospel in our lives; so that his purpose for his letter is fulfilled in bringing about the obedience of faith.
“But, I thought that my faith was good enough.” When we turn from the preaching of God’s word; when I fail to see that it is meant for me, not just for other sinners, I miss the means and the power of God’s word to make me what He created and wants me to be.
“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4
The power of the gospel is not a one-time introduction into the hall of righteousness, but a lifetime guide for the heart, proving and improving on what God gives us in the salvation of His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My standard every day is a conviction of all my sin. I see in the gospel His kindness, forbearance and patience that leads me to repentance at every turn. Faith and repentance are the twin proofs of the beginning of salvation.
“But, I thought circumcision was enough,” the Jew would say. Like all others ~ all the human race ~ we all need a Savior. The good news is that the power of Christ in the heart displaces my thinking with His. My life is not compared to what others are, or doing, but with what God is, and doing in me. I don’t need to look at others, to condemn or covet; but to see myself in light of Christ, who “knew what was in man.” John 2:25
Seeing myself condemned by the law; in repentance I look forward to the promise and power of the gospel working in my own heart and life through the remainder of our series in Romans.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free
from the law of sin and death.”
Dear gracious heavenly Father, thank you for your goodness and patience toward us, as by the power of your word and your Spirit you win our hearts to Christ, your Son, the one and sufficient hope for our salvation. “I am foolish and ignorant and as a beast before you.” Nevertheless, you are able to save, by the power of the Spirit of life that is in Christ. Thank you for making Christ our standard. In His name I pray. Amen