Rabbi Schneider - Are There Good People?
We are in the second chapter now of the book of Romans. And I'm picking up today where I left off on last week's broadcast, and I'm picking up, beloved, in the portion of Scripture where Paul says that the Lord is coming back, that the day of the Lord is coming. And for those that are living their life seeking him and seeking the glory and the honor that comes with putting him first, when the Lord returns, they'll be crowned with eternal life, living in his presence forever and ever. But for those, beloved, that live for themselves, that worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator, that live for materialism and are led by the god of this age rather than by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible says there'll be tribulation and dishonor.
So picking up now in that section of Scripture, I'm picking up in Romans chapter 2, verse number 6. Paul says the Lord's coming back, and when he does, verse 6, he will render to every man according to his deeds. To those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life, but to those who are selfishly ambition, and that's a big one for today's society. Those who are selfishly ambitious. We're actually taught that it's a virtue to be selfishly ambitious. Paul just got done talking about that in his earlier words when he said that people today not only practice unrighteousness, but they applaud those that do. And this is the society that we live in today, beloved, where self ambition is a virtue in the value system of our culture.
Paul says when you make self ambition your virtue that you're setting yourself up for destruction, because we want to be like Jesus, who said I did not come to my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And he said I do nothing by my own initiative, but I only do those things that the Father does. So we have a choice. Are we going to be self ambitious, pursuing the American dream, living for the god of this age, for our own fame and flesh? Or are we going to be like Jesus, who said I've come to do the will of my Father and didn't live by his own initiative, but by the impulse, rather, of the Holy Spirit.
So let's look at that once again, please. But to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, what's in store for them when Yeshua comes? Wrath and indignation. There'll be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also to the Greek. But glory and honor and peace to every man who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. It's interesting here this phrase that Paul uses over and over again, for the Jew first, also for the Greek, to the Jew first, also to the Greek. It's the whole pattern of Scripture.
Who did the Lord first reveal himself to? The Jewish people, right? Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the prophets, right? The whole Old Testament, the whole Tanakh is about God's revelation to the children of Israel. And then when Yeshua came, who did he come to first? He came to the Jewish people, right? His apostles were all Jewish. He sent out the 70 to the Jewish community. When the woman came to him that was not Jewish, he said woman, I've come to the house of the lost sheep of Israel. But then afterwards, the Gospel went to the Greek. And I shared about that in one of my earlier broadcasts. But it went to the Jew first, also to the Greek or to the Gentile. Even we find Yeshua, he first went into the synagogue.
When Paul began his ministry, even though he was the apostle to the Gentiles, he first always went into the synagogue. And by the way, the word synagogue is actually a very Biblical word for a people meeting in a particular place. In other words, let me contrast. We today say where are you going to church? That really is an unbiblical use of the word church. On the other hand, if I say that I lead Adat Adonai Messianic Synagogue, the average Christian will shrink back from that. They'll say what are you doing going to a synagogue? If they hear about one of their Gentile friends going to a synagogue, they'll say what are you doing going to a synagogue? Are you Jewish? Are you trying to be Jewish now? Why are you going to a synagogue? You should go to our church.
But if you think about it, the word synagogue is a more Biblically accurate word than the word church. Because a synagogue is a building or a house of worship and study. So the people that are going to worship God and study the Word of God, they go to a synagogue. Whenever Yeshua went into a town, he went to the synagogue. In the book of Acts we read that Paul, whenever he would go into a town, the first place he would go would be to the synagogue. It's simply a house of worship, a house of study. But Biblically, you don't go to church, because the church is not a building. The church is not even someplace that you go to. We are the church. The church is the called out ones. That's what the word church means. The ekklesiasta, the called out ones. And so it's more Biblical to say you go to synagogue than it is to say that you go to church.
Now, I'm not making a big issue out of this. I know that language changes and I know today perfectly well that when someone says they go to such and such church, I know exactly what they're saying, and that's fine, all good and dandy. But I'm just trying to be Biblically accurate now and just bring some Biblical definitions of words that are used in Scripture. Well, the point is here, beloved, that the Lord is coming back. And to those that are seeking for him in this life, they're going to be rewarded with eternal life. They're going to be rewarded living in God's presence forever. Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, never has even entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those that love him. We have a future, beloved, that's beyond anything that we could imagine. It's just going to be unprecedented. There are no words to describe the bliss that the people of God are going to live in, in the afterlife. And beloved, some of us are so close.
Remember, Yeshua said to the thief on the cross that gave his life to him, Yeshua looked at him and said today you'll be with me in Paradise. Let me tell you, the Paradise that, that thief on the cross went to that day, it was not comparable to Hawaii or the Virgin Islands or any other vacation destination in the world that you could go to today. The Paradise of God, beloved, is beyond anything that we can comprehend. It's just unbelievable how awesome the goodness that he has for us. But the Lord also said that for every soul that chooses to suppress the truth, to live for themself, to be selfishly ambitious, to push God out of their life, there is horrendous suffering that is in store to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
I was making the comment before simply about church and synagogue, and I got on that comment just because Paul said to the Jew first, also to the Greek, and I was just bringing in some Biblical definitions that apply to some of our language barriers that we have today. Verse number 12, For all who have sinned without the law will also, verse number 12, perish without the law. So in other words, he's saying if you are a Gentile and you were not under the Mosaic covenant, the law, and you did not repent and turn your life over to Jesus, he said you're going to perish without the law. You're going to be judged for the sins that you committed. Even though you didn't have a law, you knew they were wrong because of your conscience.
And then Paul is going to say and for those of you Jews that sinned against the Mosaic law, you knew the Mosaic law and you sinned against it knowing it, you're going to be held responsible. So basically what Paul is saying is all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Whether you're under the Mosaic law or not, everyone sinned. You've sinned against your conscience or you've sinned against the written Word of God if you knew it as a Jewish person. Verse 12, For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law. And all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. Now he's going to make a comment, for it's not the hearers of the law that are justified, but the doers of the law.
Verse number 13, For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law will be justified. Now, he's speaking here to Jewish people because the book of Romans is for Jewish people and Gentile people. And what he's saying here to the Jewish people, just because you have the law, don't think that you're righteous just because you have it. See, this is a common tendency that we as the Jewish people have made. Because we know that we're the chosen people according to the book of Deuteronomy, you alone have I chosen to be a people for myself out of all the peoples on the face of the earth. Because we're the chosen people and we have the law, Jewish people have with that picked up a pride in their Jewishness. I believe so.
Anyway, I'm speaking for myself. It's been my observation. I believe that Jewish people have an ethnic pride in the fact that they're Jewish, that God gave them the law, that God revealed himself to them, that the one true God revealed himself to the Jewish people and said you're my chosen people. This is why in the Gospel of John chapter 8 when Yeshua was talking to the Jewish people that surrounded him, they said we don't need you, we're Abraham's children. And Jesus said if you were Abraham's children, you would do the deeds of Abraham. And he says as it is, you're seeking to kill me. This Abraham would not do. And so the problem that these Jewish people had in John chapter 8 was taking confidence in their ethnicity. Their confidence was in the fact that they were Abraham's children.
Their confidence, beloved, was in the fact that they had received the law from God through Moses. They kept on boasting about Moses. Moses they said we know. This man we don't know. So Paul is saying here to the Jewish people, just because you have the law, it doesn't make you righteous. We've all heard this saying before. Not any more than going to McDonald's makes you a hamburger. So let's listen to that one more time. Paul says once again here in verse number 13 of Romans 2, For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law will be justified. So don't make the mistake to take pride because your parents were Christians. It's not people that were born into a Christian home that are justified, Paul says. Unless you're walking with the Lord for yourself, you're in trouble.
Let's continue on. For when the Gentiles who do not have the law do instinctively the things of the law, these not having the law are a law to themselves. In other words, to the Jewish person he's saying if you as a Jewish person have the law and don't do it and next to you is a Gentile person that doesn't have the law, but they're sensitive to the Spirit of God and they're obeying the Spirit of God, they're standing righteous before the Lord, and you're not.
Let's continue on. For when Gentiles who do not have the law do instinctively the things of the law, these not having the law are a law to themselves in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them. In other words, if someone doesn't have the law but they're sensitive to the Holy Spirit and they're sensitive to their conscience and they're making right decisions based upon and agreeing with truth, then they're a law unto themselves, meaning that the Spirit of God has written the law within them. And if they're cooperating with it, then they're walking in faith and they're walking in fellowship with God. And the Lord goes on to continue to say and on the day according to my Gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.
And so Paul was getting ready here to set up the fact that everybody is without excuse before God, and all are guilty. That the Jewish people are guilty because they had the law of Moses, they didn't keep it. The Gentiles are guilty because even though they didn't have the law of Moses, they haven't obeyed their conscience and the witness of the Holy Spirit to their heart. Now, today we have people that they try to excuse themselves. They say I don't need Jesus. I don't need somebody to die for my sin. I'm a good person. This is what Paul's addressing here. He's about getting ready to say here no, you're not a good person. If you're a you Jew you're not a good person because you haven't kept the law. And he says to the Gentile, no, you're not a good person because there's many, many, many, many, many, many, many times that I have spoken to you in your heart and your conscience, and you have chosen to disobey me.
So don't tell me that you don't need a Savior and don't tell me that you don't need someone to die for your sins, because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and without Messiah Jesus all are under the wrath of God. Paul is getting ready to show here that all men are guilty before God, that every man is without excuse, and that the only answer for this is Jesus Christ, the Righteous.
As we continue on, beloved, verse number 17, But if you bear the name Jew and rely upon the law and boast in God and know his will and approve the things that are essential being instructed out of the law and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and of truth, you therefore who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, although you're breaking the law, do you dishonor God?
And beloved, once again, he's helping Jewish people to understand that although you have the law, you're a criminal against God. And I think as Christian people, we need to receive this word as well, because sometimes we feel like we've got the Word of God, and we sat in church, and we look around at everybody judging everybody, condemning everybody, pointing our finger at everybody, telling them what's right and what's wrong, you should do this and you shouldn't do that, and yet the Lord's finger may be pointed back at us and saying what about you? Are you practicing what you know? That's why the Bible says let not many of you become teachers, for you shall incur a stricter judgment. So we always need to be walking humbly before God and being careful that we don't judge other people, because if we do, that same judgment by which we have judged other people will come back upon ourselves. So we need to be very careful.
Let's continue on. He continues in verse 24, For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you. What he's saying here is that he's saying to the Jewish people that you all are boasting about the law and the knowledge that you have of the law, and you're talking about all the laws, but you're not practicing them. And as a result of that, the Gentiles are seeing your hypocrisy, and they're blaspheming God. But church, we need to be careful about this as well, amen, that we don't walk around naming the name of Jesus, walking around in self-righteousness and then the unbelieving world looks at us, and they're blaspheming God because they say that you're just a big hypocrite. We need to be careful, too, beloved, that we're walking in the spirit of humility, amen, and the spirit of grace. Help us all, Lord Jesus, amen, to be a fragrant aroma to you.
And then it continues on. For indeed, in verse 25, circumcision is of value if you practice the law. In other words, if you get circumcised and live the law a hundred percent, then your circumcision's great. But if you get circumcised, Paul said, what you're doing then is you're identifying with the law. And if you get circumcised and in getting circumcised you identify with the law but then don't keep the law that you're identifying with, then the law that you're identifying with will become a curse to you. Because you see, the law, beloved, is the system of works righteousness. And the law system is this. If you do the law and you keep it a hundred percent that God will bless you when you come in, he'll bless you when you go out, he'll bless you when you lie down, he'll bless you when you rise, he'll bless your offspring, and he'll bless everything you set your hand to if you get circumcised and keep the law a hundred percent.
But if you get circumcised and in getting circumcised identify with the law but then don't keep the law, the Lord said in Deuteronomy 28 and onward, then a curse will come upon you. You'll be cursed when you lie down, you'll be cursed when you get up, you'll be cursed when you arise, you'll be cursed when you go to bed, your offspring will be cursed, and everything you set your hand to will be cursed. So the Bible says even though the law promised a blessing, because the law said if you do these things, I'm going to bless you, Paul said even though it promised a blessing, it became a curse. Why? Not because there was anything wrong with the law, but because man couldn't meet the law's requirements to be blessed. Because man couldn't keep it, he instead inflicted on himself the punishment for not keeping the law.
That's why the law became, the Scripture says, a ministry of death. The law is holy, spiritual, righteous, and good, but because man couldn't keep it, because man was flesh, it became a ministry of death to him because rather than reaping the benefit of keeping the law, man reaped the curse of disobeying it. I remember a funny story. One time some guy came into our congregation, and I met him for the first time. I said how are you? He said well, I'm blessed when I rise up and I'm blessed when I lie down. He said I'm blessed when I go in and I'm blessed when I go out. Other than that, he said, I'm kind of just dragging. It's hard to tell jokes when I don't have an audience. All I'm doing, I'm looking at a camera. I hope you're laughing. Here we go.
Let's continue on. So Paul's continuing on. He says, For there is no partiality with God, verse 11, for all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law will be justified. Verse 14, For when Gentiles who do not have the law instinctively do the things of the law, these not having the law are a law to themselves in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, and on the day when according to my Gospel God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.