Originally post at http://gephartr.blogspot.com
In the series “On …” there were a couple posts on Romans and what it has to say about the Law. Now, I am coming at it again – but specifically focused on the Law itself. And related, salvation/righteousness.
Note: all Scriptures are from the NLT.
In Romans 2 it begins the discussion of the Law. But even before talking specifically about the Law it states that those who continue in doing evil will be judged to condemnation, and those who continue in doing good will be judged to righteousness (2:5-9). This very specifically ties ones deeds to ones state at judgement day.
Do Good = Eternal Life, Glory, Honor, and Peace
“He will give eternal life to those who persist in doing what is good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers.”
“But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good – for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.”
Do Evil = Anger, Wrath, Trouble, and Calamity
“But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and practice evil deeds. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on sinning – for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.”
(Later posts will cover how this relates to belief in Jesus Christ.)
So, how does doing good or evil tie to the Law? A purpose of the Law is to show what sin (evil) is and what good is. It is this Law that has always existed in creation itself (including within mankind) and is known by all mankind.
“For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks.”
“Even when Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, instinctively follow what the law says, they show that in their hearts they know right from wrong.”
But, even though the Law is known not all people follow the Law. But those who do follow the Law do so by doing what is right and not what is wrong. Therefore, the Law is what is right – all things that are done that are right follow the Law, and all things that are done that are evil are not the Law (sin). This is the concept that we are taught in Sunday School; that concept being that sin is doing those things which God does not want.
Therefore, breaking the Law by doing evil is what separates us from God. But, it isn’t doing something that fulfills the words but violates the Spirit of the Law – for the results of that are evil and therefore not what the Law asks for. But instead, it is the deeds that fulfill the Spirit of the Law and result in good that is the fulfillment of the Law.
“For it is not merely knowing the law that brings God’s approval. Those who obey the law will be declared right in God’s sight. Even when Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, instinctively follow what the law says, they show that in their hearts they know right from wrong. They demonstrate that God’s law is written within them, for their own consciences either accuse them or tell them they are doing what is right.”
Therefore, we see that the Law is doing what is right in the sight of God. We see that this knowledge exists within us all; we know right from wrong instinctively. When we choose to do what is right, we follow the Law of God; when we choose to do evil, we ignore God’s Law and condemn ourselves.
“But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves.”
“Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies.”
Thus, continuing to do evil means that we continue to choose to deny God and to follow our own desires. (Which is in fact the first sin in the Garden of Eden.) If we follow this path, we are condemned and will not believe in Jesus for we have already chosen not to believe in God – that we know instinctively.
So ends the first post in this series.