|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-16 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.
Verse 16. - In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ. About this verse the main question is, what previous assertion the "when" refers to. The time denoted by "when" (whether we suppose κρίνει or κρινεῖ - i.e. the present or future tense - to have been intended by the writer) is certainly the ἡμέρα of 1 Corinthians 3:13, and ether passages - the day of doom, when "every man's work shall be made manifest." Hence immediate connection of this verse with the preceding one, which would otherwise have been the natural one, seems to be precluded; for in ver. 15 the present operation of conscience, during this present life, was described. One way of making the connection obvious is by understanding ver. 15 as itself denoting the manifestation reserved for the day of judgment, when all will stand self-convicted. But not only the verb ἐκδείκνυντααι in the present tense, but also the fact of the whole verse being so obvious a description of present human consciousness, seems to preclude this view. Some would connect ver. 16 with ver. 12, of which it is in itself a natural sequence; and this connection is intimated in the Authorized Version, which includes the three verses that come between in a parenthesis. The objection to it is the length of the parenthesis. Probably the apostle, in his characteristic way, paid little regard to precise logical sequence; he only desired to express, in this concluding verse, that in the great day full justice would be done, and all that he had been speaking of would be made plain. My gospel means "the gospel committed unto me to preach" (cf. Romans 16:25; 2 Corinthians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Timothy 2:8). The idea that it means "the Gospel according to St. Luke," said to have been written under St. Paul's superintendence, is too improbable to call for serious notice.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
In the day when God shall judge,.... These words are to be read in connection with Romans 2:13, and express the time when both Jews and Gentiles will be judged, called a "day", both because of the clearness and evidence of the judgment that will be made, and because a certain time is fixed, though not known, which will surely come; also the matter of the judgment, which will be,
the secrets of men: whether good or bad, which are only known to God and themselves, and which may have been done ignorantly by them; "for God shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil", Ecclesiastes 12:14, which is so interpreted by the Jews (t),
"when R. Jochanan came to that Scripture, he wept; "for God shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing";''
upon which the gloss says, yea, for those things which are hidden from him, which he has committed through ignorance, will he bring him into judgment; everything, even the least thing in a literal sense, but not for such silly trifling things they mention in the same place; doubtless the Holy Ghost means the secrets of men's hearts and actions, and the hidden things of darkness which are contrary to the holy law of God. The person by whom this awful judgment will be carried on is,
Jesus Christ; to whom all judgment is committed, who is ordained Judge of quick and dead, and is every way fit for that office, being God as well as man, and so both omniscient and omnipotent: and this the apostle says will be,
according to my Gospel; his meaning is not that the Gospel will be the, rule of judgment, because he speaking of the judgment of the Gentiles, as well as of the Jews, who never heard of the Gospel; but that what he had said concerning a day of judgment, of Christ's being the Judge, and of God's judging by him the secrets of men, were as true and as certain as the Gospel which he preached was; and was "conformable", or agreeable to it, as the Arabic version reads it, and might be learned and proved from it. This he calls, "my Gospel"; not because the author or subject of it; but because it was committed to his trust and was preached by him; and in opposition to, and to distinguish it from the Gospel of the false apostles. Eusebius says (u), that the Apostle Paul had used to call the Gospel according to Luke his Gospel, and that it is said, that whenever he makes mention of his Gospel, he designs that.
(t) T. Bab. Chagigah, fol. 5. 1.((u) Eccles. Hist. l. 3. c. 4. p. 73.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. In the day, &c.—Here the unfinished statement of Ro 2:12 is resumed and closed.
shall judge the secrets of men—here specially referring to the unfathomed depths of hypocrisy in the self-righteous whom the apostle had to deal with. (See Ec 12:14; 1Co 4:5).
according to my gospel—to my teaching as a preacher of the Gospel.
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