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 God’s Gospel

Romans 2 – To Judge
Part I

Romans 2:1-5
Therefore, thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.

After all the different sins seen in the latter part of Romans chapter one some were willing to judge and condemn but these judgments were not by a righteous judge. Krino means more than judging and condemning and comes with certain admonitions about who should and should not judge spiritual matters. For a judgment to be a godly and spiritual judgment it requires righteousness on the part of the judge and acting on the revealed Word of God.

Isaiah 11:2-5
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

This is speaking of the coming Messiah.

2 Timothy 4:8
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

No one should be quick to judge and condemn another. Considered in light of the evil Christian doctrine pertaining to hell, a doctrine that does not exist in the Bible. This false doctrine, formed from pagan mythologies, has assigned many to hell or a purgatory, even other Christians who are identified in Christ. As we consider the fullness of krino, you will see more clearly why we considered “hell” before chapter two of Romans.

In these first five verses of Romans chapter two the Greek word krino, or a form of this word, is used seven times. In all of chapter two krino, or a form of krino, is used eleven times and four more times in the beginning of chapter three.

Why is krino used so many times in such a brief section of God’s Word? Because from Romans 1:18 to Romans 3:20 is the section on the wrath of God, the righteous judgment of God. 

Krino means to judge, as in guilt or innocence, right or wrong. But there is more to the definition of this word. It is to separate information and to examine or investigate the information. Krino should be an objective decision, based on facts or based on the Truth of God’s Word. Krino should never be based on feelings, a subjective judgment. Then, make a decision or arrive at a conclusion. It is a complete investigation of facts or the Truth and then, a conclusion is reached. Often it has no relationship to the will of God, based on facts. Like a judgment from the world, or based on the senses, is not a righteous judgment because a natural mind finds spiritual matters to be foolishness.

1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

By the same logic, a child of God who makes a decision out of his unrenewed mind will be making a unrighteous decision, just as the believers in Corinth made concerning Paul.

One of the problems in Corinth was division, I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I am of Cephas, I am of Christ, (1 Corinthians 1:12) however, Christ is not divided. These are judgments and evaluations, by the Corinthian’s, based on the senses, their feelings. A decision, a judgment based on the senses will always cause division when it pertains to the Body of Christ.

In First Corinthians chapter four Timothy is sent to Corinth to help them change their judgment of Paul from how they “felt” to a spiritual judgment based on God’s Word. (1 Corinthians 4:16-17)

1 Corinthians 4:3
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you [the Corinthian’s], or of man's judgment [hemera = day]: yea, I judge not mine own self.

“A very small thing,” elachistos in the Greek, meaning, of little importance, insignificant. “Judged,” anakrino, to fully investigate, from the bottom to the top, examine fully. Judging, other than from God, meant very little to Paul.

Man’ s “judgment,” judgment is the Greek word hemera which is better translated “day” or in this context, man’s day of judging. In truth man has always felt it was his right to judge, but in the Administration of Grace God finally agrees with man. To understand this aspect of the Administration of Grace we need to stop and take a few minutes to view this in God’s Word.

Man’s Day meaning man does the judging during the Administration of Grace. In other administrations God exercised His Righteous judgment.1  (See end notes) You may have heard in the past AIDS was a judgment of God against homosexuality. This was a wrong judgment! God is not judging today; it is man’s day. You may have heard when the Twin Towers were attacked and destroyed it was God’s judgment upon America because of abortion. This was a wrong judgment also! God is not judging in the Administration of Grace; it is a time of God’s abundant Grace; it is a time of God’s forbearance. You cannot rightly divide God’s Word if you do not understand administrations.

God has placed His judgments in the hands of His son, Jesus Christ.

Acts 17:31
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.  

2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Romans 2:16
 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ [Christ Jesus in the text] according to my gospel.

Paul’s gospel is the gospel of God’s grace, it is the gospel that pertains to the accomplishments of Christ, the gospel that speaks of identification in Christ. Through the Administration of Grace God has withheld His judgment while pouring out His grace. 

When will Christ begin his judgments? 

When he returns to gather the Body of Christ.

2 Timothy 4:1
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.

“Appearing” is the Greek word epiphaneiaEpi, used in the accusative case, refers to a downward motion and phaino which means to become evident, to expose to view, to be bright or to shine. This is Christ returning in glory. This shows us different judgments by Christ. First, Christ will gather the Body of Christ and judgments based on the Gospel of God as proclaimed by Paul. Then, Christ will return to earth and other judgments will take place covering the other administrations.

Matthew 25:31
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

Until Christ returns it is man’s day to judge and man’s judgment is not a righteous judgment. Even though a child of God has the righteousness of God, he also has aspects of his mind that are unrenewed. Therefore, certain judgments are not to be made by God’s children while other judgments, those based on the words of God, must be made by God’s children. We will see the difference as we continue in this study of krino. 

Romans 2:4
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

The word “despise” is the Greek word kataphroneo. The prefix kata is associated with the genitive case in this verse and therefore refers to a vertical motion, in this case a downward motion. While phroneo refers to thoughts and feelings in a man’s mind. Together they are asking, do your thoughts look down upon the riches of God’s goodness, and forbearance, and longsuffering. “Riches” is the figure of speech anthropopatheia attributing man’s wealth to God. “Goodness” is the Greek word chrestotes and is better translated graciousness. “Forbearance” is the Greek word anoche and is only used twice in the New Testament, both times in reference to the Administration of Grace. 

Romans 3:25
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

Anoche, from the preposition ana, which means up, and the stem is from echo which means to hold. Together they mean to “hold up, to delay.” What is being delayed is God’s punishment for sin. Mercy is withholding punishment you have earned. Forbearance is not withholding punishment; it only delays punishment. Goodness, and forbearance, and longsuffering form the figure of speech polysyndeton bringing emphasis to each of these three words.

The essence of the first part of this verse is asking a question, “Do your thoughts look down upon the wealth of God’s graciousness, and God’s delaying punishment, and God’s overlooking the repeated mistakes of another?” In this Administration of Grace, God has delayed punishment by holding off judgment until the return of His son. Thus, during the Administration of Grace it is man’s day to judge, and no one is more qualified than a child of God, who has the righteousness of God and the words of God. When Christ returns to gather the Body of Christ, meaning those who have believed the gospel proclaimed by Paul, the Administration of Grace will end.

So many are quick to judge and to condemn, that was the purpose of the doctrine of hell. Keep people in line through condemnation and fear. BUT it is the goodness, the graciousness, of God, that leads a person to repent. Condemnation and fear are man-made judgments, from man-made religions, about how to lead a person to God. These man-made pagan religions do not lead men to God because their words lead men away from God (1 Corinthians 12:2).

1 John 4:19-20
We love him because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

When you allow these words to sink into your mind, you will understand just how wrong most people perceive God. So many see God as an eternal punisher, yet He delays punishment. Religious Christianity is afraid to teach God’s grace for fear it will lead to more sin. God endures the repeated mistakes by individuals, He forgoes judgment giving every person the opportunity and the time to repent.

Let’s go back and pick up 1 Corinthians chapter 4 again.

1 Corinthians 4:3
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you [the Corinthian’s], or of man's judgment [hemera = day]: yea, I judge not mine own self.

It was of little importance what the Corinthian’s thought of Paul personally, it was of little importance what the world thought of him personally, and he placed little importance on self-awareness. 

Notice Paul did not say, “no importance.” Consider this!

The Corinthian’s were judging Paul by their senses and were not impressed.

2 Corinthians 10:1
Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: 

2 Corinthians 10:10
For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

Apparently, Paul was not dashing in his physical presence, nor eloquent with his words. So, some Corinthian’s judged Paul as less of a leader.

1 Corinthians 4:4
For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

The King James Version did a poor job of translating this verse of scripture.

1 Corinthians 4:4
For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.
  English Standard Version

1 Corinthians 4:4
For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I have not been justified by this; but the One judging me is the Lord.
Berean Literal Bible

Although these translations are better than the King James Version, they both missed the figure of speech ellipsis that needs to be recognized to fully understand this verse. Paul was not aware or conscious of anything against himself. What information did he separate? What did he investigate, what did he examine?

This is why we need to see the figure of speech ellipsis. What he examined was his faithfulness from the second verse of this chapter. But even that is an incomplete answer. Paul’s faithfulness to what? As a steward of the mystery God shared with Paul, he was faithful to planting the foundation concerning Christ Jesus. Paul was faithful to plant God’s foundation of grace (1 Corinthians 3:6).

The judgment of others, whether other believers, or the world, or even himself, was of little importance because it is the Lord who will justify Paul’s work. When Paul stands before the bema, the judgment seat of Christ, his work will be tried by fire.

Verse four opens with the Greek word gar, a further explanation of what was said in the previous verse. For, gar, I am not conscious or aware, know nothing – synorao oudeis, of any unfaithfulness on my part, supplied from verse two through the figure of speech ellipsis. Paul considered his words and actions in Corinth, and he saw no unfaithfulness as a steward of the mystery of God. 

But alla – sharp contrast; hereby, en – better translated in; touto = meaning this, it was not translated in the King James Version; justified, dikaioo, 1st person. The essence of this portion of the verse is this, “As a further explanation, I am not aware of any unfaithfulness on my part, but in this I am not justified…”

In verse three Paul said he did not judge himself. Then, to give us greater clarity, in verse four Paul adds, I evaluated my actions and saw no place where I had been unfaithful. However, he adds seeing no unfaithfulness on his part did not justify him. Then, he closes verse four with, “but the one who judges, anakrino, him is the Lord, Jesus Christ.” It is the Lord who will decide if Paul was unfaithful in his words or actions while he was in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore, judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

“Therefore” looks back at what was said and forward to his conclusion. “Judge nothing before the time…” Judge is krino. Nothing is me but it is combined with the pronoun tis. Before is pro. Time is kairos. 

Me (pronounced may) is in the imperative mood and the present tense. The present tense gives us a continuing state of now until the set time. The imperative mood, in this context, gives us a command. Me tis is better translated “no one” versus “nothing.” Me is subjective, an opinion, a viewpoint based on feelings. Make no judgments about a person based on feelings. From your point of view, you may feel someone needs to be judged. But make no judgment before the time, this is a command! Thankfully, the verse gives us the time, “until the Lord come…” Come is the Greek word erchomai and in this case refers to Christ coming to gather the Body of Christ, which is those who have believed during the Administration of Grace. That means from about 45 A.D. until the day Christ returns.

Let’s bring in some of the remote context that pertains to this subject of the return of Christ for the Body of Christ and judgments.

1 Thessalonians 4:13
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

The word “ignorant” is agnoeo in the Greek and it means to not understand. God wants those who believe in the Administration of Grace to know about Christ’s return, to understand Christ’s return. Please be patient and watch God develop this through the ministry of the Apostle Paul.

“Concerning them which are asleep…” is the figure of speech euphemismos, euphemism in English. It is the exchange of one word for another word that is considered too blunt, here sleep replaces dead.

John 11:11-14
These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

This is the same figure of speech, euphemismos.

The others who sorrow, sorrow because they have no hope of Christ’s return. They see no release from the hell Christianity invented. The return of Christ is a glorious and much anticipated event for those who know and understand the Truth.

1 Thessalonians 4:14
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

“Sleep” is again the figure of speech euphemismos.

1 Thessalonians 4:15
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

Recognize that there are two groups of believers when Christ returns. Those that are alive and those who have died or are asleep. For an administration that has lasted almost two thousand years many have fallen asleep and wait, in the grave, for the Lord’s return. “Shall prevent” is the Greek word phthano and means to come before, to precede. Those still alive, when Christ returns, will not precede those who have died before Christ’s return.

The next event, on God’s calendar, is the return of Christ for the Body of Christ. Christ will meet his Body in the air. The dead, or those sleeping, will rise first and then, those who are alive, and we will all meet Christ in the air.

Praise God! Another promise kept! Another prophecy fulfilled!

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

The word “comfort” is the Greek word parakaleo. Para means alongside or near and kaleo means to call or to invite. As you work this word in the scriptures you see that it means to call another to your side in order to produce an effect. The effect is whatever is needed in the situation. In this case in Thessalonica, the effect is to understand that even though someone has died before Christ returns, because they believed God’s gospel pertaining to Christ, they are still gathered with the rest of the Body of Christ, they will be gathered together with those who are living.

The doctrine of Christ’s return was to be a blessing, and a comfort, and an anchor. A blessing because those who have believed would be with their Lord and with their Heavenly Father, and all in the Body of Christ. A comfort because they understood God’s promise of release from the grave, which removes the sorrow of death. An anchor because it could be today that he returns, and we are removed from this corrupt and ungodly world that the Adversary still controls. An anchor to remain steadfast in our walk with the Head of the Body.

1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 5:5-9
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith [pistis = believing] and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

This is a different Greek word for sleep and refers to us staying sharp mentally in our walk. 

Now add to these words what God had to say in First Corinthians fifteen.

1 Corinthians 15:51
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

Again, the figure of speech euphemismos.

1 Corinthians 15:52
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The dead will be raised from the grave, where they are sleeping, but raised incorruptible. “Incorruptible” is the Greek word aphthartos and it means no longer liable to decay. In the grave their bodies decayed and returned to dust, but when Christ raises the dead, decay will never happen to their new incorruptible bodies.

How can Christ raise the dead from their sleep in the grave?

John 5:25-29
Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Back to First Corinthians, fifteen.

1 Corinthians 15:53-55
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So, when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

When Christ has gathered the Body of Christ together to meet with him in the air, each individual believer will stand before the bema, the seat where judgment is carried out and rewards are given. Death, for those in the Administration of Grace, is swallowed up in victory. This is the figure of speech gnome. It is a quote from Isaiah 25:8 but used in a different sense. Isaiah is speaking to Israel about the resurrection of the Just that pertains to Israel and the Bride of Christ. While Paul is speaking of the gathering together of the Body of Christ pertaining to the Administration of Grace.

Death “is swallowed up” is the Greek word katapino which means to drink down completely, to devour a drink. Kata is once again in the accusative case and thus refers to a horizontal motion. But in this verse, it is also used with the preposition eis, translated “in.” A better translation would be the word “with” to express the immediate purpose of this gathering of those who have believed God’s Gospel as proclaimed by the Apostle Paul in the Administration of Grace.

Why use the word gathering? Because it is not a resurrection for everyone, some have died but some are still alive and Second Thessalonians used the word “gathering together,” episynagoge in the Greek. 

1 Corinthians 3:10-11
According to the grace of God, which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ [Christ Jesus in the text].

Remember Romans 2:16, where God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to the gospel Paul has proclaimed. Here in First Corinthians three, it is that gospel which Paul has laid as the foundation. Now every person builds upon that foundation in their own life by their words and deeds.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

What will be consumed by the fire I am not qualified to judge, other than to say, that which is unrighteous will be removed. Ultimately, even if all a person’s words and works were consumed by God’s fire, the person’s identification in Christ would remain and that person would be saved, sozo, made whole.

Now, with this remote context we are ready to finish reading First Corinthians chapter four, verse five.

1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore, judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

The Lord will bring to light the hidden things of darkness or said another way those things within each of us that do not reflect the righteousness of God. They will be burned up in the fire of First Corinthians chapter three. But our time in front of the judgment seat, the bema, is not only about removing unrighteousness. It is also about rewards.

You say, “I do not think I earned any rewards.” What did Paul say, “I judge not myself.”

Bringing the hidden things of darkness to light is the unrighteousness that will be removed. Then verse five says at the bema the “counsel of the heart” will be manifest. The Greek word for manifest is phaneroō and it means to make visible, to illuminate. The Greek word for counsel is boule.

1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
New International Version

Here they translated boule as motives.

1 Corinthians 4:5
So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.
New Living Translation

I liked how this translation handled me tis as any one versus nothing. They also handled boule as motives. 

1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
Berean Standard Bible

Although “motives” is not the translation I would have chosen for boule, it fits the heart of the verse and the context.

Romans 2:5-11
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest 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 doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.

God looks on the heart.

1 Samuel 16:6-7
And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD's anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

God looks at the internal, not the physical.

Proverbs 16:2
All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.

God imprinted His likeness upon every person, the “spirit” in this verse in Proverbs. Why did you take a certain action? This is for God to judge.

Then, in First Corinthians chapter four, verse five our unrighteousness, the darkness, has been removed and the motives of our heart have been revealed and our time in front of the judgment seat of Christ concludes with “praise from God!”

The Creator of the heavens and the earth will praise you! If you only confessed Jesus as Lord and believed God raised him from the dead, you will receive praise from God! If you faithfully built upon the foundation throughout your life, God will praise you! Allow these words to sink into the heart of your mind.

End Part I

1. I will give you some references and you can look them up when you have time, I say that because word studies will be involved. Genesis 3:14-17; Genesis 11:1-9; Deuteronomy 32:48-52; Luke 2:13-17; Matthew 25:31-46

© Auxano Ministry 2024

God's Gospel Series