According to the Grace

Romans 12:3-8 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches, on teaching; Or he that exhorts, on exhortation: he that gives, let him do it with simplicity; he that rules, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 

‘Unto me’ – this refers to Paul’s apostleship by the grace of God (1:5; Eph. 3:8).

‘Not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith] Not to be conceited and self-important, but to take a sane view of himself.

‘So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another’ Paul here compares the body of Christ to a human body (1Cor. 12:12-28).

‘Gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us’ – this refers to the spiritual gifts of 1Cor. 12:4-11, 27-31. They are given and to be exercised according to grace and the measures of faith (12:3, 6).

‘Whether prophecy’ – this gift is that of speaking to people to edify and exhort them (1Cor. 14:3-6).

‘Ministry’ [Greek: diakonia] service rendered by a diakonos, a deacon, one who executes the command of another. It is used of: Servants of kings (Matt. 22:13); servants at feasts (John 2:5, 9); ministers or officers of civil governments (13:4); men and women servants of congregations (Matt. 23:11; Mark 9:35; Rom. 16:1); deacons or business elders and distinct from bishops or teaching elders (Php. 1:1; 1Tim. 3:10-13; Acts 6:1-7); Jesus Christ as a minister to the Jews in the work of preaching, teaching and healing (15:8; Gal. 2:17; Matt. 4:23-24; 9:35; Acts 10:38); ministers of congregations (Matt. 20:26; Mark 10:43); teachers of the gospel (1Cor. 3:5; 2Cor. 3:6; Eph. 3:7; Col. 1:23, 25; 1Thess. 3:2); ministers of Christ and of God (John 12:26; 2Cor. 6:4-10; 11:23; Eph. 6:21; Col. 1:7; 4:7; 1Tim. 4:6); also used of ministers of satan to counterfeit the work of true ministers and to deceive (2Cor. 11:15)

‘Teaches’ – the teacher [Greek: didaskalos] was an instructor of others (Acts 13:1).

‘Exhorts’ [Greek: parakaleo] to call aside; make an appeal to by way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, or instruction (Acts 4:36; Heb. 10:25). ‘Gives’ refers to the rich that give help to others (2Cor. 8:2; 9:11-13). ‘Simplicity’ [Greek: haplotes] Do not give with outward show or pride. (2Cor. 1:12; 8:2; 9:11, 13; 11:3; Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22).

‘Rules’ [Greek: proistemi] to stand before, that is, (in rank) to preside, or (by implication) to practise: – maintain, be over, rule. ‘He that shows mercy, with cheerfulness’ – those who work with the sick and work for charity must be cheerful and sympathetic.

Not Cast Away

Romans 11:1-4 I say then, Has God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot you not what the scripture said of Elias? how he makes intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what said the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

‘Has God cast away his people? … Wot you not what the scripture said of Elias? … But what said the answer of God unto him?’ What shall we conclude? Has God cast off Israel completely and permanently? God forbid. I am an Israelite myself and proof that God is not through with Jews, but willing to save all that will believe.

‘I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.’ Paul refers to himself here as proof that God did not cast away His people.

‘Which he foreknew’ God’s foreknowledge [Greek: prognosis] is a perceiving beforehand where it refers to God seeing ahead. God’s invitations, promises, provision, and warnings of punishment are general for all people are invited to choose life and are warned of eternal punishment if they do not do so.

‘Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life’ quoted from 1Kings 19:10-18. This proves the doctrine of the remnant, according to the election of grace (11:5-6; Isa. 1:9).

‘I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal’ – this illustrates how God can reserve 144,000 Jews to Himself after the rapture and during the first 3 1/2 years of Daniel’s 70th week (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 7:1-8; 14:1-5).

‘Baal’ the name of the idol god of Moab, and Peor was the name of the place where the idol was worshipped (Num. 25:18; 23:28; Jos. 22:17; Hos. 9:10). Baal-worship was the state religion of Israel under Ahab and Jezebel. It was with this god that Elijah had his great contest (1Kin. 18:1-46). Baal was the male sun-god worshipped as the chief deity among heathen nations in western Asia (Num. 22:41; Jud. 2:13; 6:25-32; 1Kin. 16:31-32; 18:19-26,40; 19:18; 1Kin. 22:53; 2Kin. 3:2; 10:18-28; 11:18; 17:16; 21:3; 23:4-5; 1Chron. 4:33; 5:5; 8:30; 9:36; 2Chron. 23:17; Jer. 2:8; 7:9; 11:13, 17; 12:16; 19:5; 23:13, 27; 32:29, 35; Hos. 2:8; 13:1; Zeph. 1:4; Rom. 11:4). His altars and sanctuaries were located on high places-even the summits of high mountains-in order to get the first view of the rising sun, the last of the setting sun. The sun was believed to be the source and emblem of all life and the generative power of nature.

Who Shall Separate Us

Romans 8:31-35 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 

‘What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? … how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? … Who is he that condemns? … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’ We must conclude from these doctrines that God is for us and will freely give us all things; that God alone is our judge; that Christ and the Holy Spirit are our helpers; that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ; and that we are more than conquerors over all enemies through Jesus Christ our Lord. Please note that sin will remove us from His grace and one cannot sin and claim these Scriptures for oneself (Isa. 59:1-2; Heb. 10:26-31).

‘Lay … to the charge of’ [Greek: engkaleo] call to judicial account (Acts 19:38). God justifies the elect.

‘Elect’ [Greek: eklektos] anyone chosen of God at any time, Jew or Gentile, is the elect of God (9:11; 11:5, 7, 28; 1Thess. 1:4; 1Pet. 5:13; 2Pet. 1:10). All men are called to become God’s elect or chosen ones and can be if they will choose God (Matt. 11:28-30; 20:16; John 1:12; 3:16-20; 6:37; Eph. 1:4; 2Thess. 2:13; Jas. 2:5; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 17:14; 22:17).

‘It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us’ four redemptive acts of Christ: His death and resurrection, His ascension (Eph. 1:20) and intercession (8:27).

‘Who also makes intercession for us’ because He is an everlasting priest, and has made the only true atonement for sin, He is able to save from all sin to the uttermost, in all places, at all times, and under all circumstances. The condition of salvation is coming to God by Him.

‘Intercession’ [Greek: entungchano] to light upon; fall in with; meet with; intercede with and for (8:27, 34; 11:2; Heb. 7:25) and “deal with” (Acts 25:24).

Seven purposes of intercession: To come to or meet a person for any cause whatever (8:27, 34; Heb. 7:25); to plead the cause of others as in a civil court (Isa. 59:9-18; 1Tim. 2:1); to pray for others (8:26-27, 34; Isa. 53:12; Luke 22:44; Heb. 7:25); to defend or vindicate a person or thing (Jer. 7:16; 27:18; 36:25); to commend others to a person (8:26-27); to furnish any kind of assistance or help (8:26-27); to accuse or act against a person in a judicial way (11:2; Acts 25:24).

‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ’ not who shall keep Christ from loving us, but who or what shall keep us from loving Him? This is the true idea, for the things listed here might affect people, but not Christ. If we will not permit them to affect our love for Christ, then we are safe from all danger of backsliding.

Into This Grace

Romans 5:1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

‘Access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.’ We are not merely introduced to God by Jesus Christ for an interview, but we are to remain with Him as part of His household (Eph. 2:18-22; 3:12).

‘Grace’ the primary meaning of grace in connection with God is: free, eternal, and unmerited love and favour of God toward free moral agents who are the product of His own creation, whether human or spirit beings, and who are capable of God; consciousness and moral responsibility. Grace is the spring, source, and the very fountain-head of all the manifold benefits and blessings of God to all of His creation (3:24; 5:17-21; 11:5, 6; John 1:14-17; 3:16; 2Cor. 9:8; Eph. 1:6,7; 2:5-8; Jas. 4:6; 1Pet. 5:5). Grace is also used to mean the favour and friendship of man with man (Gen. 32:5; 33:8-15; 34:11; 39:4; 47:25, 29; Ruth 2:10; Esther 2:17).

All of God’s great benefits come through His marvellous grace. We deserve nothing but He gives us everything. Grace moves God to act in behalf of and for the best and eternal good of the whole creation. Grace is seen in acts of judgment as well as in acts of mercy. It works for the benefits of the few as well as of the many. All living creatures have an eternal guarantee of God’s benefits and loving providence through grace. We get through grace “every good and perfect gift” and “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (3:24; 5:2, 17-21; 6:14; 8:32; John 3:16; 2Cor. 8:9; 9:8; Jas. 1:17; 4:6; 2Pet. 1:3-4). Such benefits are received solely by free moral agents upon the principle of humiliation and entire dependence upon God by faith, realizing that the creature is nothing, and the Creator is all and the source of all Such blessings are wholly apart from works (3:24-31; 4:1-4, 16; 5:15-21; 6:14, 15; 11:6; Gal. 2:16; 3:1-12; Eph. 2:7-9).

Four secrets of continued grace: Live and walk in the Spirit (8:1-13; Gal. 5:5; 16-26; Col. 3:5-10). Be patient in hope (8:24; Gal. 5:5; Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 6:19). Continue in Christ (Gal. 5:6; John 15:1-8; Col. 2:6-7; Heb. 3:14). Continue in faith (Gal. 5:6; Col. 1:23).

‘We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience’ we have grace to endure trials without sustaining loss or deterioration. We are like silver and gold when refined (Pro. 17:3; 1Pet. 1:7). Just as silver and gold are purified by fire, so the Lord purifies the hearts of men by fiery trials (Jas. 1:2, 12; 1Pet. 4:12; Rev. 3:18). Fire only separates all the foreign and impure materials from gold. It loses nothing of its nature, weight, colour, or any other property. Gold has been kept in a state of fusion for months without the smallest change. Genuine faith also will be proved by trials.

No One Is Righteous

Romans 3:9-10 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one 

‘What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise’ Paul states here clearly that the Jews do not have a better claim to the gospel than Gentiles. This is the last Jewish part of the dialogue of Romans 3:1-9. Paul answers that they have no more claim before God than Gentiles. The Jew has asked nine questions in this dialogue (3:1, 3, 5, 7, 9). Paul has answered them in verses 3:2, 4, 6, 8, 9.

‘Before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin’ in his last answer Paul comes back to the main subject of this section (Romans 1:18-3:20). The sum of the proof of world guilt: The 40 sins and the 20-fold apostasy of the Gentile world (1:18-32); an indictment of the self-righteous Jews who condemned the Gentiles, but were guilty of the same sins (2:1-2); impenitence of both Jews and Gentiles proved them sinners (2:3-6); the refusal of both classes in obeying the gospel (2:7-11); failure of both classes in walking in the light (knowledge of the Word) received (3:12-16); the Jews were exceedingly sinful because of their failure to live up to the law and superior advantages (2:17-29); the Jews were deeper sinners because of seeking excuses for their sinfulness contrary to the law and their own high profession of godliness (3:1-9).

‘Under sin’ sin is a real force that dominates and enslaves (5:12-21).

‘As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one’ this passage (3:10-18) is from several Old Testament books on the same subject. Romans 3:10-12 are from Psalms 14:2-3; 52:2-4; Ecclesiastes 7:20. Romans 3:13-18 are from Psalms 5:9-10; 10:7; 36:1-2; 140:3; Isaiah 59:7-8.

‘There is none righteous’ having stated (3:9) that he had already proved both Jews and Gentiles to be under sin, he now proceeds to clinch this argument by the Jewish Scriptures which they could not deny. ‘Righteous’ no one is righteous in himself.

God’s Righteousness Upheld

Romans 3:1-5 What advantage then has the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou might be justified in thy sayings, and might overcome when thou are judged. But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who takes vengeance? (I speak as a man) 

‘What advantage then has the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?’ Circumcision only profited if the law was kept (3:25).

‘Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God’ This answers the questions of Romans 3:1. Being entrusted with the oracles of God and all the external advantages were not sufficient to save the soul (3:21-31; 4:1-25; 8:3-4; Gal. 3:10-14).

‘For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?’ People’s unbelief cannot undo the effects of God’s faithfulness.

‘God forbid’ this answers the questions of Romans 3:3. “God forbid” is found 15 times in the New Testament (3:4, 6, 31; 6:2, 15; 7:7, 13; 9:14; 11:1, 11; Luke 20:16; 1Cor. 6:15; Gal. 2:17; 3:21; 6:14), and 9 times in the Old Testament (Gen. 44:7, 17; Jos. 22:29; 24:16; 1Sam. 12:23; 14:45; 20:2; 1Chron. 11:19; Job 27:5). Only in 1Chronicles 11:19 is it a literal translation of the original language. In all other places, it is a cultural idiom of the King James translators expressing a strong negative. Literally, may it never be.

‘Let God be true, but every man a liar’ let no man say that God has failed in keeping His word with any man. Let man examine himself and his ways to see if he has not failed to meet conditions so God can fulfil His promise. ‘That thou might be justified in thy sayings, and might overcome when thou art judged’ quoted from Psalm 51:4.

‘Thou are judged’ when God is judged or when He judges man by man, He always comes out justified because He is faithful in all His ways (Ps. 119:86, 138; Deut. 7:9; 1Cor. 1:9; 10:13). ‘But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who takes vengeance? … for then how shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather … Let us do evil, that good may come? … What then? are we better than they?’ Paul states that if their sins magnify the mercy and goodness of God then, the more wicked they are the more God can be glorified. If they thus glorify God, would He not be unjust in casting them off? It is only natural for Paul to reason this way for all his countrymen are involved. Typical how most people believe today: they think because Christ has died for their sin, they can continue therein. Nothing is more further from the truth, because Christ came to set us free from the bondage of sin not to provide a way for us to keep on living in sin (1Jn. 3).

Righteous Judgment

Romans 2:5-11 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasures up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that does evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that works good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God. 

‘Hardness’ caused by a long course of rebellion (Ps. 81:11-15; 2Cor. 3:14; Heb. 3:8-19). ‘Impenitent heart’ caused by the hardness of heart (Eph. 4:18-19). ‘Treasures up’ [Greek: thesaurizo] increase or store up – here it is storing up things that will call for the wrath of God. The treasure of wrath is varied to the extent one rejects the goodness of God and punishment will be according to its contents (2:6; Matt. 11:22-24; 23:14; Rev. 20:11-15).

‘The day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God’ Paul no doubt refers here to the final judgment when all rebels will receive full retribution for their sins (2:16; Acts 17:31; Rev. 20:11-15). It is called “the wrath to come” (Matt. 3:7; 1Thess. 1:10). All rebels are “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3; 5:6). Many days of wrath have come upon people locally and in this life because of rebellion (Num. 11:33; 16:46; Deut. 9:7-8; Luke 21:23; 1Thess. 2:16; etc.). One more great day of wrath is coming upon people on earth (Rev. 6:16-17; 14:19; 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19; 18:3; 19:15), but the great day of wrath is that of the final judgment and eternal hell (Rev. 14:9-11; 20:11-15; 21:8).

‘Render to every man according to his deeds’ repay every man reward or punishment.

‘Patient continuance in well doing’ a must for all (John 6:27; 10:28; 1Tim. 6:12, 19). We are commanded to “do good” to those who hate us (Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27; Gal. 6:10; Heb. 13:16).

‘Seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life’ four things to seek: Glory (2:7, 10; 8:18; 2Pet. 1:3); honour (2:7, 10; John 12:26; 1Thess. 4:4); immortality (1Pet. 3:4), and eternal life (John 6:27; 10:28).

These are given on conditions of seeking them (2:7) and by “continuance in well doing” and “working good” (2:7, 10). Acts of obedience do not merit such blessings, which are already provided for by grace, but they demonstrate acceptance of them by man and proof to God of conformity to His will (Php. 2:12; Jas. 1:21-27).

‘Indignation and wrath’ note the contrasted destinies of two classes – good and evil (2:7-11). They care clearly described in Matthew 7:13; 25:46; John 5:28-29; Galatians 6:7-8. Up to physical death, destruction can be cancelled by repentance (Luke 13:1-5; John 3:16-20; Acts 3:19; 1Jn. 1:9) and life can be cancelled by sin (Gen. 2:17; Ezek. 18:4; Rom. 8:12-13).

‘No respect of persons with God’ God cannot be anything but infinitely impartial in His dealings with all men. He cannot prefer one above another nor bless one above another when all meet the same terms and love Him with all the heart. The seeming preference of God between two men is based upon the attitude and disposition of the men toward God and conformity to His plan. Naturally, God cannot bless two men the same when one is in obedience and the other in rebellion. God will bless the ones more who conform more fully to His holiness.

According to Truth

Romans 2:1-4 Therefore thou are inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou are that judges: for wherein thou judge another, thou condemn thyself; for thou that judge does the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And think thou this, O man, that judges them which do such things, and does the same, that thou shall escape the judgment of God? Or despises thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads thee to repentance? 

‘Thou are inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou are that judge: for wherein thou judge another, thou condemn thyself; for thou that judge does the same things’ Paul here addresses the Jews without naming them. He accurately describes them by their well-known disposition to justify themselves and condemn others (Luke 18:19). They are guilty of some of the same things God condemns in Romans 1:21-32, so they are liable to God’s just judgment on sin as much as Gentiles.

‘And think thou this, O man, that judge them which do such things, and does the same, that thou shall escape the judgment of God? Or despise thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads thee to repentance?’ No one who sins – saved or not – will escape God’s judgment (Isa. 26:9-10). God will punish the righteous when they sin (Gal. 6:7-8), He will surely punish the ungodly. If the ones who are righteous are scarcely saved, there is no possible hope of sinners being saved (1Pet. 4:17).

‘Think’ [Greek: logizomai] to reckon or reason. First of 19 times in Romans (2:3, 26; 3:28; 4:3-24; 6:11; 8:18, 36; 9:8; 14:14).

‘Or despise thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads thee to repentance?’ The question to the Jews were if they despised the good dealings of God and the superior advantages they have had, not knowing that those were designed to lead them to repentance.

‘Leads thee to repentance’ three things lead to repentance: (1) Goodness [Greek: chrestotes] the virtue and beneficence of God whereby He leads sinners to repentance (2:4; cp. 5:6-8). (2) Forbearance [Greek: anoche] the self-restraint of God whereby He tolerates sinners and permits them to live to be saved (2:4; 3:25; cp. Neh. 9:30). (3) Longsuffering [Greek: makrothumia] the leniency and patience of God whereby God’s mercy and goodness are extended to people to bring them to eternal reconciliation to Himself (2:4; 1Pet. 3:20; 2Pet. 3:15).

‘Repentance’ [Greek: metanoeo] to change one’s mind for the better. Not merely to forsake sin, but to change one’s attitude toward it and his love for it. Hence, it is demanded by God as a condition of forgiveness and grace (Matt. 4:17; Luke 13:3, 5; 15:7; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30). Repentance is one of the main themes of the Bible, being found 110 times from Genesis 6:6 to Revelation 16:11.

Seven original words for “repent” is used in Scripture: (1) Hebrew: nacham, to sigh, breathe strongly, to be sorry (Gen. 6:6; Ex. 13:17; Job 42:6; Jon. 3:10); (2) Hebrew: shuwb, to turn back (1Kin. 8:47; Ezek. 14:6); (3) Hebrew: nocham, regret (Hos. 13:14); (4) Hebrew: nichuwm, compassion (Hos. 11:8); (5) Greek: metanoeo, to change the mind for the better morally, to change the attitude toward sin (Luke 13:3); (6) Greek: metamellomai, to regret consequences of sin, not the cause (Matt. 27:3; 2Cor. 7:8); (7) Greek: metanoia, a real change of mind and attitude toward sin and its cause, not merely the consequences of it (Matt. 3:8, 11; 9:13; Luke 24:47).

Knowing the Judgment of God Part 2

Romans 1:29-32 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 

‘Backbiters’ [Greek: katalalos] evil speakers; false accusers; slanderers of absent people. ‘Haters of God’ [Greek: theostuges] hateful to God; atheists; condemners of sacred things; despisers of providence; scorners of good. ‘Despiteful’ [Greek: hubristes] insolent; stormy; boisterous; abusing the characters and persons of those under them; scornful; hateful. ‘Proud’ [Greek: huperephanos] to indulge in pride or self-gratulation; be exalted; elated; glory in self; display or strut self before others; an undue sense of superiority; unnatural self-esteem; arrogance; wishing all people to receive their sayings as oracles. ‘Boasters’ [Greek: alazon] self-exalted, vain, and arrogant braggarts. ‘Inventors of evil things’ [Greek: epheuretes] originators of wicked, immoral, and sinful customs, rites, and fashions; inventors of the abominable religious orgies of Bacchus, and every other form of entertainment rooted in horror, cruelty and base immorality. ‘Disobedient to parents’ rebellious against parents; indifferent to rule and order; irreverent.

‘Without understanding’ ignorant and destitute of capacity for spiritual things; stubborn. ‘Covenant-breakers’ [Greek: asunthetos] not morally bound to any agreement; not dependable; treacherous to covenants; faithless to promises; false to trusts. ‘Without natural affection’ destitute of natural affection; that is, filled with desire for unnatural affection experiences and other sexual deviation sins of Romans 1:24-28.

‘Implacable’ [Greek: aspondos] without libation (which accompanied a treaty). Greeks used it to appease the angry gods and reconcile them to the contracting parties. A person who would not pour libation was at deadly enmity with the other one and showed the highest pitch of an unforgiving spirit. He could not be placated, appeased, or pacified by God. ‘Unmerciful’ [Greek: aneleemon] pitiless; destitute of all benevolence to the needy; cruel; merciless; irreconcilable; severe; unappeasable; unforgiving; unyielding.

‘Not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them’ giving approval and or acceptance to the noted sins of Romans 1:24-28 in the lives of others make one just as guilty as the partakers thereof. Even though it’s not our duty to reprove others of their sin, but the Holy Spirit’s (John 16:8), we are to withdraw from those who sin, lest we fall into the same temptation (Ps. 1:1; 1Cor. 5:9-13; 2Cor. 6:17 – 7:1; 2Jn. 1:10-11).

Submit Yourselves

1Peter 2:13-17 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 

‘Submit yourselves’ Be subject, as in Romans 13:1-7. Christians commanded to obey human laws and civil rulers as long as they do not transgress the laws of God. Ten duties of citizens are required: To be subject to civil government (2:13-17; Rom. 13:1; Tit. 3:1); to be afraid to disobey civil rulers (Rom. 13:3; Pro. 24:21); to do good (Rom. 13:4; Tit. 3:1); to pay taxes (Rom. 13:1-7; Matt. 22:17-21); to render dues to all people (Rom. 13:7); to honour civil rulers (2:13-17; Rom. 13:1-7; Acts 23:5); to pray for civil rulers (1Tim. 2:1-2); to obey civil laws (Rom. 13:1-7; Ezr. 7:26); to do not curse rulers (Eccl. 10:20); to work for peace (Rom. 12:18).

In God’s plan He has determined that human governments shall exist to help Him carry on moral government and enforce moral laws. Even though they are appointed by God, He is not responsible for their acts, which is mainly evil and selfish. If they get out of line He will judge them, as He will all others. Some facts about human governments: They were instituted by God (2:13-17; Gen. 9:1-7; Rom. 13:1-6). Their purpose was to execute criminals and enforce law and order among people (2:13-17; Gen. 9:6; Isa. 11:4-9; 65:20; Dan. 2:21; 4:17-25; 5:21; Rom. 13:1-6). Human governments, are not founded upon the arbitrary will of God, but upon the needs of humanity in securing their highest good.

‘Ordinance’ the Greek word ktisis, always translated “creature” or “creation” except here and Hebrew 9:11. It means not only to be subject to every human ordinance, but also to every human creature that has any authority in government. The Jews thought it was unlawful to obey any ruler who wasn’t Jewish.

‘For the punishment of evildoers’ this is the purpose of human government and civil rulers, and it is only right that all good people cooperate to put lawlessness down.

‘So is the will of God, that with well doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men’ when Christians obey the eight commands for pilgrims, they not only do the will of God, “but put to silence” the enemies of Christianity. The eight commands for pilgrims are: Abstain from fleshly lusts (2:11); live honest lives before men (2:12); submit to human civil rulers (2:13-15); be free, but live godly (2:16); honour all men (2:17); love the brotherhood (2:17); fear God (2:17), and honour the king (2:17).

‘Silence’ [Greek: phimoo] translated “put to silence” (2:15; Matt. 22:34); “be speechless” (Matt. 22:12); “hold one’s peace” (Mark 1:25; Luke 4:35); “be still” (Mark 4:39); and “to muzzle” (1Cor. 9:9; 1Tim. 5:18).

‘Ignorance’ [Greek: agnosia] translated “ignorance” (2:15) and “not knowledge” (1Cor. 15:34). This rightly pictures foolish men who do not seem to have intelligence enough to accept Christianity (cp. Ps. 14:1).

‘Foolish’ [Greek: aphron] meaning senseless; witless; crazed or silly.

‘As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God’ Jews considered themselves servants to no one but God. They used this doctrine for a cloak of maliciousness to justify their many rebellions against Rome and other nations. Peter warned them to be subject to civil rulers in all lands proving they were true servants of God.

‘Honour all men’ Romans 13:7 says: “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” Withhold nothing from civil government or its lawful officers that is required of you to pay. Pay taxes, customs, fear, and honour to all people over you in public life.

‘Brotherhood’ this means all true Christians in the one family of God (Eph. 3:6, 14-15) who represents the male (Heb. 2:11-12) body of Christ.

‘Fear God’ – fear [have respect] God who gave these commands lest He punish you for disobedience.

‘Honour the king’ honour the emperor or the highest civil ruler, for human government came from God (2:13-17; Rom. 13:1-7) even though the rulers are of darkness (Eph. 6:12).