And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.Romans 2:2(NASB)
The book of Romans presents the gospel message in clear, logical, structured steps, and the theme for the entire book is found in chapter 1, verse 17, "For in it, (i.e in the gospel), the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to more faith... as it is written, 'the righteous man shall live by faith.'"
Romans makes it clear from the start that the very nature of man is at enmity with God and every man remains under God's eternal condemnation unless they are saved by grace through faith. Once a man is saved by faith, he is to live by faith. Every man remains under the judgement of almighty God until they are covered in Christ's righteousness - by faith. But once they are born again, they are to live their life - by faith.
The unsaved sinner who is dead in their sin and at enmity with God can only be justified by faith in Christ. A man's salvation is judged according to their FAITH in Christ's sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, as payment for their sin. When the unsaved seek to justify themselves by dressing up in their own religiosity or by living according to their own set of standards or self-made morals, they will be judged according to their own righteous DEEDS - which will always fall short of God perfect righteousness.
Romans begins by describing fallen man's rejection of God and his antagonism towards the gospel of Christ. Some refuse to believe in the existence of God, while others refuse to believe in His work of redemption. The ungodly pagan says in his heart "there is no God," and by rejecting the existence of God, he rejects Christ Who is the object of our faith, and the only means to salvation.
Similarly, the self-righteous moralist is a sinner who trusts in his own goodness rather placing his faith in the goodness of Christ. By trusting himself instead of Christ, such a man rejects the very foundation of our faith i.e. faith in Christ's sacrificial work, and such a man remains under condemnation. Both the sceptic person and the sanctimonious man are under God's condemnation.
Those who reject the Person of God and those who refuse to trust in Christ's sacrificial work are condemned already, and chapter 2 begins by stating clearly, "we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practise such things." The wrath of God is poured out on ALL who deny the Person of God and the Work of Christ. God's judgement rests on the pagan who practises sin and the self-righteous individual who passes judgement on the sin of others.
While the first chapter of Romans details God's judgement on those who deny His existence, despite all the evidences in nature, in Scripture, and mans' God-given conscience, the second chapter condemns those pompous individuals who pass judgment on others. Paul states very clearly that they are hypercritical, because they practise the same things of which they accuse others!
Paul warns that judgemental people cannot justify their own 'righteousness', for in passing judgement on others, they condemn themselves. And he continues, "and we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practise such things". Judgement falls on self-righteous, pharisaical hypocrites, because they fall far short of the perfect standard that God demands of His people. All have sinned and all fall short of God's standard. We sin because we are sinners. We are born in sin and the offspring of sinners and we ALL need a Saviour.
Scripture declares the truth that all men are sinners and no amount of moral deeds or self-righteous behaviour can attain to God's sinless standard. The only path to peace with God and a right standing before Him is faith in Christ. A man may manage to deceive his fellow into thinking he is a good, moral and honourable individual, but God reads the heart of all men. God understands the motive of man's mind, and the 'good deeds' of self-righteous moralists can never hoodwink the Lord, and such a man will be judged accordingly.
The message of Romans is very clear - ALL are sinners and ALL fall short of God's righteousness. All are condemned and all need a Saviour. The judgement of God falls on all who refuse God's gift of salvation - both the fool who denies His existence and the self-righteous moralist who rests on his own righteousness for salvation.
May we take to heart the serious nature of sin and sinners and endeavour to walk in spirit and truth, and may we be ready to warn the lost of their need of Christ and share with them the good news of salvation.
Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us and gave His life as the ransom price for the sin of the world. Thank You for the truth of the gospel of grace and the structured way that Paul explains that all have sinned and all fall short of God's glory. I recognise that it is not simply those who deny Your existence that will be judged, but the self-righteous person who boasts in their own morality, dresses themselves up in their own righteousness, and wears a necklace of pride while condemning others. Thank You that my salvation does not rest on what I have done but on what Christ has done for me. Praise Your holy name that Christ was judged for my sin and that I have been clothed in His own righteousness, through faith in His sacrificial work on the Cross. I pray that I may live by faith for Your praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.