Judge Not

Romans 14:4-7 Who are thou that judge another man’s servant? to his own master he stands or falls. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord; and he that regards not the day, to the Lord he does not regard it. He that eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he that eats not, to the Lord he eats not, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no man dies to himself. 

‘One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike.’ No particular sabbath is commanded in the New Testament The Law of Moses has been abolished, including the Jewish sabbath. Reasons that the fourth commandment was left out: Neither God nor Christ made it a part of the new covenant. If they had it would be somewhere in the New Testament as the other nine are. Of all the words of Jesus on earth only four references are made of the sabbath (Matt. 12:8; 24:20; Mark 2:27-28; Luke 6:5). He merely taught that it was lawful to do good on this day and that no day is lord of man. He did not once command any particular observance of any definite day. The old Jews sabbath was part of the contract between God and Israel and a token and sign of that covenant (Ex. 20:8-11; 31:13-18; Ezek. 20:12-20). The contract was not made with men before Moses (Deut. 5:2-3), or with Gentiles and the body of Christ (2:14; Deut. 4:7-10). The sabbath was not for them. The fourth commandment was the only one of the ten that was a ceremonial, not a moral law. Its sole purpose was to commemorate the deliverance from Egyptian bondage when Israel had no rest (Deut. 5:15). It was only a type of future and eternal rest (Col. 2:14-17; Heb. 4:1-11; 10:1). It was natural for it to be left out of the new contract when the reality of rest came of which it was a shadow (Matt. 11:28-29; Col. 2:14-17). The physical and spiritual benefits of a rest day can be realized on any other day as well as on Saturday. The fourth commandment was the only one that could degenerate into a mere form without affecting the morals of men. All others concern moral obligations of men. It is the only one of the ten that could be done away with and still leave a moral law for men God foretold and promised He would do away with the old Jewish sabbath (Hos. 2:11; Isa. 1:10-15). The prophets predicted that God would abolish the old and make a new covenant (Isa. 42:6; 49:8; 59:21; Jer. 31:13-40; 32:37-44; Ezek. 36:24-38). That is referred to in the New Testament is clear in Romans 11:25-29; Hebrews 8:8-12; 10:16-18; Matthew 26:28. In no passage is it stated that men should keep the Jewish sabbath to commemorate the old creation rest. It was to commemorate deliverance from Egypt (Deut. 5:15). This was what they were to “remember” (Ex. 20:8). It is the only commandment that could be and has been broken without breaking a moral law. Israel marched on that day (Num. 33:3; Lev. 23:5-11; Jos. 6:12-16); set up the tabernacle (Ex. 40:1, 40:17 with Lev. 23:5-11); searched Canaan (Num. 13:25); and made war (1Kin. 20:29; 2Kin. 3:9; Jos. 6:12-16). David and others broke it and were blameless (Matt. 12:2-5). The New Testament permits Christians to keep any day as the sabbath, it being one of the doubtful things not covered by commandment in the new covenant (14:1-13; Gal. 4:9-11; Col. 2:14-17). The day early Christians observed – not by commandment but by choice – was the first day, Sunday (John 20:1, 19; 1Cor. 16:2).

Fulfilling the Law through Love

Romans 13:8-14 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shall not commit adultery, Thou shall not kill, Thou shall not steal, Thou shall not bear false witness, Thou shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself. Love works no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put you on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. 

‘Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law’ This has nothing to do with owing just debts of money and other material things. It simply expresses the idea that Christians owe to each other mutual love. You are not bound to your brethren to obey them as you are civil rulers, but you are bound to them by love.

When you really love on Godly standards, you will not: Transgress the moral law (13:8, 10); deprive any man of his wife; rob any woman of her virtue; take the life of anyone; hate anyone (13:9 with 1Jn. 3:15); take the property of anyone; rob a man of his good name; covet one thing of another; love only yourself (13:9); work ill toward anyone (13:10).

‘And if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself.’ Any other commandment necessary for a Christian to obey is covered in proper love to one’s neighbour (anyone in close proximity).

‘Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.’ Eight commands for Christians: Cast off the works of darkness; put on the armour of light (13:12); walk decently and well behaved; stop revelling and drinking; quit all immoral living; refrain from quarrelling, contention, and jealousies (13:13); clothe selves with the character of Jesus Christ; make no provision for lust (13:14).

‘Honestly’ [Greek: euschemonos] decently (13:13; 1Cor. 14:40; 1Thess. 4:12). ‘Rioting’ [Greek: komos] revelling (13:13; Gal. 5:21; 1Pet. 4:3). ‘Drunkenness’ [Greek: methe] drunken festivals, generally accompanied with all kinds of unclean singing and abominable sexual acts. ‘Chambering’ [Greek: koite] whoredoms, prostitution, and all kinds of uncleanness. ‘Wantonness’ [Greek: aselgeia] licentiousness, all manner of uncleanness and sexual perversion. Lasciviousness (Mark 7:22; 2Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 4:19; 1Pet. 4:3; Jude 1:4); wantonness (13:13; 2Pet. 2:18); and filthy (2Pet. 2:7).

‘But put you on the Lord Jesus Christ.’ To be clothed with a person is a Greek phrase signifying to take upon one the interests of another; to enter into his views; and be wholly on his side, imitating him in all things.

‘Flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof’ – the flesh works of Galatians 5:19-21; Romans 1:21-32; 1Corinthians 6:9-11 and Colossians 3:5-10.

God through Jesus Christ

Romans 7:21-25 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 

‘Law’ – this is the law of the mind, which consents to the law of God (7:16, 21, 23).

‘Law of God’ – this is the law of Moses of Romans 7:1-16. ‘Inward man’ refers to the spirit of man which knows (1Cor. 2:11; 2Cor. 4:16; Eph. 3:16) and which is immortal (1Pet. 3:4). It also takes in the soul, that is, the seat of the feelings, emotions, and desires, for Paul not only knew and willed to do the will of God, but he delighted in it (cp. Ps. 1:2).

‘Another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members’ the law of sin (7:23, 25; 8:2). That law is stronger than the law of the mind, for it captures man regardless of the protest of the law of the mind (7:23, 25). This victory is not occasional, but complete (7:24).

‘O wretched man that I am!’ this is not a picture of a redeemed soul, but of a captive of sin. Every statement in this chapter proves that this was Paul’s experience while bound by sin under the law and before he was freed from the law of sin and death, as in Romans 8:1-4. His testimony indicates deliverance was after the three days of blindness at Damascus (Acts 9:17-18). The experience must have been during these three days for he had lived in all good conscience before this (Acts 23:1; Gal. 1:13-14; Php. 3:6). In the new enlightened state of these three days, he saw that he had not really kept the law, saw that he was a helpless slave to sin and could not obey it as it should be kept. Hence, his conclusion of wretchedness.

‘The body of this death’ – there is an allusion here to the ancient custom of tyrants who bound a dead body to a living man, requiring him to carry it about until he died of contagion from the putrid mass.

‘I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord’ This is the answer to Romans 7:24. Jesus Christ is the only deliverer from sin (1:16; 10:9-10; Matt. 1:21; 1Jn. 1:9).

‘So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin’ – this is a misplaced conclusion which has caused many false doctrines to be taught. It should follow Romans 7:23 as the conclusion of the whole argument. It is not only the logical conclusion, but it starts out with the Greek: ara and oun, therefore. It means, “to conclude, the sum of what I have said,” etc. Many have used these words to prove Paul himself was not saved from sin. This would contradict all the arguments of Romans up to this point and what follows. He proves both before and after this that there is complete victory over the law of sin (1:16-18; 2:8-11; 3:5-8, 24-31; 4:1-24; 5:1-11; 6:1-23; 8:1-13).

Circumcision of the Heart

Romans 2:25-29 For circumcision verily profit, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision do transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. 

‘But if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision’ Circumcision was only profitable if the law was kept. If Israel broke the law they were just as much uncircumcised as Gentiles, for this was a sign of keeping the Law of Moses. If Gentiles who were not circumcised in the flesh kept the law by nature (2:12-16), then, in reality, they were the circumcised ones (2:26-27), for circumcision was a rite representing something spiritual – the purification of the heart (Jer. 4:4-10; 9:26; Ezek. 44:7-9; Rom. 2:29).

‘Shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision does transgress the law?’ The Jews were quick to judge others because they saw themselves as privileged being God’s nation. They made the types (circumcision, sabbaths, sacrifices, the Law of Moses, etc.) that was given to them to illustrate what Christ came to do for mankind a religion instead of serving God Himself.

‘If it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?’ The question here was that if a Gentile who is not circumcised keeps the law and the Jews did not, are the Jews not condemned as sinners by the Gentile, even though the Jews were circumcised?

‘For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh’ a true Jew is not the one who is circumcised in the flesh, neither is true circumcision in the flesh. A true Jew is one that has inward circumcision of the heart and in the spirit and has more than an outward cutting in the flesh and a profession of truth. This does not teach that every Christian is a Jew, but to be a true Jew one must be of the seed of Abraham, and have circumcision of the heart, and be a child of the promise (2:28-29; 9:6-7).

Do By Nature

Romans 2:12-16 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

‘For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law’ not only is it stated in Romans 2:7-11 that God will judge on the basis of character and conduct, but here (2:12-16) it is stated that He will judge character and conduct on the basis of light received (knowledge acquired). ‘Also perish without law’ no Mosaic law will be cited against non-Jews.

‘For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified’ not the hearers of the law and of the gospel, but the doers will be justified (2:7-11; 10:8-21; Jas. 1:21-27; 2:14-26; 1Jn. 1:7).

‘Do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves’ Gentiles who are a law unto themselves will not be held accountable to any other law or be judged by any other.

‘Show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another’ their keeping of the law by nature proves they have the law written in their hearts. The conscience bears witness of obedience or condemns for disobedience, proving God has not left people without light (knowledge) sufficient to justify or condemn in the judgment (2:15-16). It does not say here that keeping the law, or doing by nature what the law requires, saves the soul in either case. People have to be born again in addition to this to be saved. ‘According to my gospel’ according to foundations God laid down in His gospel. The Father will judge all people by Jesus Christ. He will be impartial and judge on the basis of deeds, not knowledge (2:7-11); and light (knowledge), not laws that people never possessed (2:12-16).

Grace for Grace

John 1:15-18  John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, He that come after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. 

Christ was in existence before John, but after John in public earthly ministry (Matt. 3:11; Lk. 3:17; John 1:31-33) “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” Micah 5:2 (See also Isa. 9:6-7; Heb. 1:8; Rev. 1:8.)

The Greek word for fullness is pleroma which means abundance, completeness. All needs and lawful wants are promised by the gospel (2Cor. 1:20; Mat. 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; Mark 9:23; 11:22-24; John 14:12-17; 15:7, 16; 16:23-26).

Grace upon grace means full grace, according to our needs and wants (Heb. 4:14-16; 10:19-38; Jas. 1:5-8).

The law that condemns in the moral life, and only typifies in the religious life is the law of Moses. First of 13 times Moses is mentioned in John (John 1:17, 45; 3:14; 5:45-46; 6:32; 7:19-23; 8:5; 9:28-29). Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ – this does not mean that there was no law before Moses, or no grace and truth before Jesus Christ. The law itself is truth, and the New Testament is law. There are 1,050 commands in the New Testament. The idea here is that the fullness of grace came by Jesus Christ. One can get today in fullness what men received only in part in Old Testament times.

The Greek word for seen is horao which means to see with the eyes and also see with the mind. That it means here to comprehend fully or understand is clear from the fact that many men have seen God with the eyes (Gen. 18:2, 33; 32:24-30; Exo. 24:10; 33:11; Jos. 5:13; Isa. 6:1-13; Ezek. 1:26-28; Dan. 7:9-14; 10:5-6; Acts 7:56-59; Rev. 4:2-5; 5:1-7). The verse could read, “No man has ever comprehended or experienced God at any time in all His fulness, save the only begotten Son . . . . He hath declared Him.” That Christ is the first to experience God in the fullness of the Holy Spirit is clear from John 3:34; Acts 10:38; Isaiah 11:1-2; 61:1-2 and Luke 4:16-18.

The Greek word for declared is exegeomai which means revealed, expounded; where we get our word exegesis.