Romans 2:2
But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) We are sure.—St. Paul assumes that this will be acknowledged as a general principle by his readers, whether Jew or Gentile, as well as by himself. There is still a strong under-current of allusion to the way in which the Jew was apt to fall back upon his privileges. “Do not think that they will save you from standing before precisely the same tribunal as the Gentiles.” The Jews, it seems, had an idea that the Gentiles only would be judged, while they would be able to claim admission into the Messianic kingdom as theirs by right of birth.

According to truth.—The principle on which God’s judgment will proceed will be that of truth or reality, as opposed to appearance, worldly status, formal precedence, &c. It will ask what a man is, not to what race he belongs.

Romans 2:2-4. But we are sure — Greek, οιδαμεν, we know; though men may judge partially and perversely, yet God will judge uprightly; that the judgment of God — The sentence that he will pronounce upon persons, whether Jews or Gentiles, is according to truth — According to the true state of every man’s case; or according to the true character of persons, and the true quality of the actions and dispositions; (Romans 2:5-11;) against them who commit such things — However they may behave toward their fellow-creatures. Dr. Macknight, who understands the expression, according to truth, as signifying, “according to the true meaning of God’s covenant with the fathers of the Jewish nation,” observes, “By this declaration, the apostle reprobates the erroneous opinion confidently maintained by the Jews, who, fancying that by their natural descent from Abraham, they were entitled to the promises made to his seed, firmly believed that no Jew would be damned.” And thinkest thou this, &c. — Canst thou then, by the sentence which thou passest upon others, think to evade that which goeth forth against thyself? Or despisest thou — Dost thou go further still, and, from hoping to escape his wrath, dost thou proceed to abuse his love? The riches — Or the abundance; of his goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering — Exercised for such a length of time toward thee, who not only hast sinned, but dost sin, and wilt sin. The word, καταφρονεω, here rendered despise, also signifies to think against, to think wrong, or misconstrue; and the clause may be fitly translated, Dost thou misconstrue, or form a wrong opinion of, the goodness of God? God’s goodness, of which the Jews formed a wrong opinion, or which they despised, consisted chiefly in his having made them his church and people, in his having frequently, in an extraordinary manner, protected them against or delivered them from their enemies, conferred upon them innumerable blessings, temporal and spiritual, especially the latter, having from time to time raised up among them divinely-inspired prophets, to reveal his will to them, to instruct, warn, caution, and exhort them, and having intrusted with them his holy oracles. From these marks of the divine favour they vainly inferred that God would punish no descendant of Abraham for his sins in a future state. But in this they grievously erred, for the goodness of God, together with his other attributes here mentioned, was not intended to make sinning safe to the Jews, but to lead them to repentance for their sins. Forbearance (Greek, ανοχη) is that disposition in God by which he forbears to punish sin immediately upon its being committed; long-suffering — Or slowness to anger, signifies his deferring for a long time to punish; and here it seems chiefly to intend his patiently bearing long the ill use which the Jews made of the privileges they enjoyed as his church and people, and of the various blessings he had conferred upon them.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.But we are sure - Greek, "We know." That is, it is the common and admitted sentiment of mankind. It is known and believed by people generally that God will punish such crimes. It is implied in this declaration that this was known to the Jews, and it was particularly to the purpose of the apostle so to express himself as to include the Jews. They knew it because it was everywhere taught in the Old Testament, and it was the acknowledged doctrine of the nation. The design of the apostle here, says Calvin, is to take away the subterfuges of the hypocrite, lest he should pride himself if he obtained the praise of human beings, for a far more important trial awaited him at the bar of God. Outwardly he might appear well to people; but God searched the heart, and saw the secret as well as the open deeds of people, and they who practiced secretly what they condemned openly, could not expect to escape the righteous judgment of God. God, without respect of persons would punish wickedness, whether it was open, as among the Gentiles, or whether it was concealed under the guise of great regard for religion, as among the Jews.

The judgment of God - That God condemns it, and will punish it. He regards those who do these things as guilty, and will treat them accordingly.

According to truth - This expression is capable of two meanings. The Hebrews sometimes use it to denote truly or certainly. God will certainly judge and punish such deeds. Another meaning, which is probably the correct one here, is that God will judge those who are guilty of such things, not according to appearance, but in integrity, and with righteousness. He will judge people according to the real nature of their conduct, and not as their conduct may appear to people. The secret, as well as the open sinner therefore; the hypocrite, as well as the abandoned profligate, must expect to be judged according to their true character. This meaning comports with the design of the apostle, which is to show that the Jew, who secretly and hypocritically did the very things which he condemned in the Gentile, could not escape the righteous judgment of God.

Against him - That is, against every man, no matter of what age or nation.

Which commit such things - The crimes enumerated in Romans 1. The apostle is not to be understood as affirming that each and every individual among the Jews was guilty of the specific crimes charged on the pagan, but that they were as a people inclined to the same things. Even where they might be externally moral, they might be guilty of cherishing evil desires in their hearts, and thus be guilty of the offence, Matthew 5:28. When people desire to do evil, and are prevented by the providence of God, it is right to punish them for their evil intentions. The fact that God, prevents them from carrying their evil purposes into execution, does not constitute a difference between their real character and the character of those who are suffered to act out their wicked designs.

CHAPTER 2

Ro 2:1-29. The Jew under Like Condemnation with the Gentile.

From those without, the apostle now turns to those within the pale of revealed religion, the self-righteous Jews, who looked down upon the uncovenanted heathen as beyond the pale of God's mercies, within which they deemed themselves secure, however inconsistent their life may be. Alas! what multitudes wrap themselves up in like fatal confidence, who occupy the corresponding position in the Christian Church!

We know assuredly, and it is evident, both from Scripture and reason, that God’s judgment, both here and hereafter, is true and upright; see 1 Samuel 16:7. He judgeth righteous judgment; he judgeth of persons and things, not as they are in appearance, but as they are in reality.

Against them which commit such things; this indefinite manner of speaking includeth both those that judge others, and those who, for the aforementioned sins, are subject to the censures of others. But we are sure that the judgment of God,.... By "the judgment of God", is not meant what is exercised on and towards men in this life, but what will follow after death; which is called judgment to come, is represented as certain, will be universal as to persons and things, and is here called "the judgment of God", in opposition to the judgment of men; and because it will be carried on by God only, who is omniscient and omnipotent, and will be definitive: this is and will be,

according to truth, against them which commit such things; in opposition to all hypocrisy and unrighteousness: and it may design the law and light of nature by which the Gentiles, the law of Moses by which the Jews, and the Gospel of Christ by which all have enjoyed the Gospel revelation, will be judged; or the truth of their own consciences in them all: now we may be sure of this judgment; and of its being according to truth, from reason, from Scripture, and from the being and perfections of God.

But we {a} are sure that the judgment of God is according to {b} truth against them which commit such things.

(a) Paul alleges no places of scripture, for he reasons generally against all men: but he brings reasons such that every man is persuaded by them in his mind, so that the devil himself is not able to completely pluck them out.

(b) Considering and judging things correctly, and not by any outward show.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 2:2. Οἴδαμεν] Paul means to pronounce it as in his own view and that of his readers an undoubted truth (comp Romans 3:19), that the judicial decision which God will one day pronounce, etc. The δέ carries on the discourse, and the entire sentence forms the propositio major to what is now (Romans 2:3) to be proved, namely, that the person judging (the Jew), who yet makes himself guilty of wickedness similar to the things (τὰ τοιαῦτα) in question, deceives himself if he thinks to escape the true judgment of God (Romans 2:5). Thus τὸ κρῖμα[585] τ. Θεοῦ has the emphasis of contrast with that human judgment so inconsistent with their own conduct. The predicate of being κατὰ ἀλήθειαν ἐπὶ τοὺς κ.τ.λ[586] belongs not to the latter, but to the divine κρῖμα. Th. Schott erroneously emphasises ΠΡΆΣΣΟΝΤΑς, dislocating the clear train of thought, as if Paul were treating of the truth that the Gentile’s knowledge of what was right would not shield him from sin and condemnation. Hofmann also introduces a similar confusion.

κατὰ ἀλήθειαν] contains the standard, in accordance with which the judgment of God is pronounced against the τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες: in accordance with truth, so that it is, without error or partiality, entirely adequate to the moral condition of these subjects. Raphel, Köllner, Krehl, Mehring, and Hofmann take it as equivalent to ἀληθῶς, really (4Ma 5:15; and in Greek writers), so that the meaning would be: it is in reality issued over them. But it could not be the object of the Apostle to remind them of the reality of the divine judicial sentence, which was under all circumstances undoubted and undisputed, so much as of its truth, for the sake of the Jews who fancied that that judgment would condemn the Gentiles, but would spare the descendants of Abraham as such, and on account of their circumcision and other theocratic privileges; by which idea they manifestly denied the ἀλήθεια of the ΚΡῖΜΑ ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ, as if it were an untrue false sentence, the contents of which did not correspond to the existing state of the facts.

[585] Not κρίμα. With Lachmann it is to be accentuated κρῖμα; see Lobeck, Paralip. p. 418. Lipsius is of a different opinion as regards the N. T. (grammat. Unters. p 40 f.)

[586] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.Romans 2:2. κατὰ ἀλήθειαν is predicate: God’s judgment squares with the facts—this is the whole rule of it. τοὺς τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντας: those whose conduct is such as has been described. For the text, see critical note.2. we are sure] This is spoken as by the Apostle, not as by the Jew. He solemnly repeats the thought that man knows that judgment is to come.

judgment] The original word is almost always in N. T. used of adverse decision, and in most cases of the execution of the sentence, as in the next verse.

according to truth] Rather, according to reality; in awful earnest and fact.Romans 2:2. Οἴδαμεν) we know; without thy teaching, O man, that judgest [we know].—τὸ κρίμα τοῦ Θεοῦ, the judgment of God); not thine, thou that exceptest thyself.—κατὰ ἀλήθειαν) according to the truth of the highest kind, without distinction; just as His judgment is called δἱκαιον, righteous, at Romans 2:5-6; Romans 2:11; not merely having respect to external acts, but also to internal thoughts Romans 2:16 [the secrets of men].The judgment (τὸ κρῖμα)

Not the act, but the contents of the judgment.

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