Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Magnificat

And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. 50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. 54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever” (Luke 1:46-55).

 Mary and Elizabeth

The angel Gabriel had appeared to Zacharias to prophesy the birth of his son (even though his wife, Elizabeth was well advanced in years), who would be John the Baptist.  Gabriel also appeared to Mary and informed her she would give birth to the Savior (even though she had not known a man). 

Mary would visit Elizabeth when both were with child.  The child of Elizabeth would leap in her womb (could be a sign of prenatal faith).  Elizabeth would confirm what the angel had said—“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42b).  This morning we will examine Mary’s response—it comes in the form of a song.

A Young Adult

It is worth noting that Mary’s song, though far from dispassionate, is full of allusions to the Old Testament.  Quotes from Hannah (1 Samuel 1, 2), the Psalms, Isaiah, and more, flow from this young woman’s (likely still in her teens) lips.  In today’s culture, Mary would be considered an adolescent (from the Latin adolescere—meaning “to grow up”).  The Scriptures make no such distinction between teenagers and adults.  The teenager is an adult.  And here we see a glorious example of a godly teenager.

A Refined Exuberance

The Magnificat (which is the first word in the hymn in the Latin Vulgate: Magnificat anima mea Dominium, meaning, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord)[1] is a wonderful example of passion tempered and directed by knowledge and truth.  This is not the sentimental rambling of a young woman.  It is rather like a talented artist who has refined her skill through the study of anatomy or architecture.

Four Parts

There are four unique aspects of her song.  First, God’s blessings toward her; second, God’s blessings from generation to generation; third, God’s judgment on the proud; fourth, Mary’s allusion to the covenant keeping God.

I. God’s Blessing Toward Mary

And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name (Luke 1:46-49).

A Unique Birth

          Mary’s response is reminiscent, if not taken directly from, Hannah who also had a miraculous birth of the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 2).  Mary would have been aware of the Sarah’s birth of Isaac and now Elizabeth’s conception of John the Baptist—all miraculous births.  But Mary’s was unique because she, unlike the others, was not barren.  She had not yet known a man.  The goal of the other miraculous births was to foreshadow and make the way for her child whose name would be Jesus, for He would save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).  The other births still had human fathers; Jesus would be conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Magnifying God

          Her soul magnifies the Lord.  As the Psalmist records,

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together (Psalm 34:1-3).

God had extolled Mary, and every generation would call her blessed.  Yet Mary would not magnify herself, but she rather acknowledges her “lowly estate” and magnifies the Lord.   

“But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:1,2).

Soul and Spirit

Mary’s soul would magnify the Lord and her spirit would rejoice in her God, her Savior.  Two things to note here:   

Mary mentioning soul and spirit is thought by some to simply be a poetic repetition of the same faculty.  The distinction between soul and spirit, according to this view, should not be made.[2]  Others believe the spirit ought to be taken for understanding and the soul for the seat of affection.[3]  I wouldn’t force the issue at this point. 

One thing is clear no matter how we slice up the language—both understanding and affection are contained in Mary’s praise.  This is something that could only be achieved by one who is well catechized in heart and mind.  What I mean by this is knowledge of the promises of God and a joyful expectation of the fulfillment of those promises.  Such should be the goal of every believer.


Secondly, Mary refers to her Savior.  Although this reference to salvation may be applied to salvation from bondage, obscurity or other earthly predicaments, it seems that the context is salvation from sins (Matthew 1:21).  This is clearly problematic for the Roman Catholic view of a sinless Mary.  Mary rejoiced in being saved from her sins, as should we.
Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid;‘ For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’”3 Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:2,3).

And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. 22 “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:21,22).

Personal and Corporate

This stanza ends with a very personal outburst.  For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name.”  From generation to generation there seems to be two dangers:  One is an over-emphasis of our personal relationship to the exclusion of a corporate relationship (this perhaps being the dominant error among today’s evangelicals).  People feel perfectly comfortable in their Christianity apart from any connection with the body of Christ.  This is clearly unbiblical. 

The other is an over-emphasis of our corporate relationship to the exclusion of a personal relationship.  We see this among many Roman Catholics who view the church as their mediator rather than Christ.  We also see this among Protestants, who might be faithful in church attendance, but don’t exhibit the fruit of one who has Christ as Savior and Lord. 

Mary is excited about what God has done for her individually, but quickly moves to the corporate blessings as well.
II. God’s Blessings from Generation to Generation

And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation” (Luke 1:50).

          Mary’s excitement is further established when she sees herself as part of the tapestry of God’s everlasting covenant.  A covenant Mary was no doubt familiar with as one given to Abraham.

And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you (Genesis 17:7).


          There should be an excitement in the life of the Christian, not only in what God has done for us, but in what God is doing in history from generation to generation.  Mary’s life was to be filled with difficulty and heartache.  But her difficulty and heartache would be major players in God’s plan of redemption throughout history. 

She would witness the crucifixion of her Son.  Yet at the same time she would be witnessing the crucifixion of Savior of the world.  It was bitter and sweet.  Honey on the tongue and sour in the stomach (Revelation 10:10).  But the true glory can only be appreciated from one who would have a protracted view of time.  We mustn’t be overly concerned with the apparent failures and victories of our singular generation.  We must know that God has a plan of mercy for all generations.

Even though God’s goodness, at some level, is known to all men, the mercy of which Mary sings is extended to a specific group.  It is extended to those who fear Him.  Matthew Henry states,

It has been a common observation that God in his providence puts contempt upon the haughty and honour upon the humble.[4]

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7).  No man who views God as a debtor or a contemporary will find favor in His sight.  God is to be feared.  And He will incline His ear to those who in humility of faith, call to Him for deliverance.  Mary will now proclaim the judgment which comes to those who have no fear of God in their eyes, those who trust in the strength of their own arms and minds. 

III. God’s Judgment on the Proud

He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. (Luke 1:51-53).

Scattering the Proud 

Interesting that such a young girl would have such a broad world view.  God scatters those who are proud in the imagination of their own hearts.  Who Mary likely has in mind are people in power who trust in their own innovations for goals and methods, rather than the goals and methods revealed by God’s word. 

It would appear that our very best political candidates have lost sight of what it means to govern in such a way as to defer to the only wise God and Savior.   What Mary seems to be saying is, “that in the course of history God’s mighty power has repeatedly punished these arrogant people.”[5]   

Rich Yet Poor

God exalts the lowly.  He fills the hungry with good things (unlike the bad things the ungodly seek to fill men with).  And the rich he sends away empty.  This is not to say that it is inherently evil to be rich.  But when one thinks their riches to be satisfactory we must consider the words of Jesus Himself in a letter to the church at Laodicea. 

Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Revelation 3:17,18). 

In short, as Matthew Henry states, “They come full of self, and are sent away empty of Christ.”[6] Mary grasped the wisdom of men humbling themselves “under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5:6).  For God, as revealed in Daniel, “changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (Daniel 2:21). 

How well acquainted Mary must have been with Psalm 2. 

Why do the nations rage,And the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves,  And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure:6 “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.”7 “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth.11 Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling.12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him (Psalm 2:1-12).

          It would be the Son of Mary who would inherit the nations and break the ungodly with a rod of iron.  Mary rejoiced in what had been done for her and what would be done through history. 

IV. The Covenant Keeping God. 

He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever (Luke 1:54, 55). 

Jews or Gentiles? 

          This passage, and so many like it, seems to exclude the gentiles.  When I read the New Testament—when I read the words of Mary, am I excluded from being in the chorus of her song?  We serve and covenant making, covenant keeping God.  Yet the covenant is with Israel, and Abraham and his seed.  What about me?  What about the church?  What about those who would believe in the very Son Mary held within her body?  Here is where much of modern Christendom has been robbed.  We are made to think and to feel as if the promise is for others, when the Scriptures declare it to be for us.  As Paul writes,

And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:29).  

          The promise made to Abraham was that through Him all the families of the world would be blessed.  The Old Testament was always universal in its final aim.  And the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16) are the recipients of the precious promises contained in the person and work of the blessed Savior.

          God has made an everlasting covenant/promise.  It is directed toward those who come to God seeking mercy through Jesus.  The good news of this mercy has reached our generation—it has reached our ears—may our souls, like Mary’s, magnify the Lord.

[1] William, Hendriksen, The Gospel of Luke (Baker Book House, 1978), p. 101.
[2] Hendriksen would hold this view, p. 103.
[3] John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, Harmony of the Gospel (Baker Book House), p. 53
[4] Matthew Henry, The Matthew Henry Commentary (Zondervan, reprinted 1960), p. 1413.
[5] William, Hendriksen, The Gospel of Luke (Baker Book House, 1978), p. 107.
[6] Matthew Henry, The Matthew Henry Commentary (Zondervan, reprinted 1960), p. 1414.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Work of the Law


Sermons through














Work of the Law in the Heart

Romans 2:12-16




With Study Questions







Pastor Paul Viggiano

Branch of Hope Church

2370 W. Carson Street, #100

Torrance, CA 90501

(310) 212-6999


Work of the Law in the Heart

Romans 2:12-16


For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel (Romans 2:12-16).


For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (Romans 2:12).


The Righteous Guru


          So very much can, and has been, said and written on this passage that it is difficult to zero in on how it is to be preached.  There is general consent that verse 12 holds all men without excuse—that whether or not you were raised in the church (in this case the Old Covenant church of Israel) or outside the church, that all men are without excuse in their sin and disdain for God and His righteous counsel (Romans 1:18-21).

          Years ago a friend told me of his complaint against Christianity.  The problem lies, he explained, in the notion that a hermit/guru living in a tree in the rain forest who never harmed a single soul or had a foul thought would, apart from Christ, be condemned to hell.  My friend had conjured in his mind this perfect person—this heavenly earth-man who had never done evil—and my friend could not reconcile how a just God would condemn such a person for simply not following Jesus.

          At first blush the scenario causes one to pause.  But upon further examination it becomes apparent that his mythical narrative is fraught with error and false suppositions.  For one, condemnation is not the consequence of refusing to follow or believe in Jesus—condemnation is the consequence of sin.  Rejecting Jesus is to refuse one’s only hope of rescue from sin. 

He made the false supposition that a sinless man would not go to heaven.  A sinless man needs no savior.  The announcement of the gospel did not come until Adam sinned.  But the primary error made by this story is the notion of the sinless man.  The man who thinks he is sinless, according to John, deceives himself and the truth is not him (1 John 1:8). 

If sinfulness is an attribute of all men (as the Bible proclaims from cover to cover) then it is an error to assume someone else to be sinless (excepting Jesus of course).  Furthermore, so deep and undeniable is this truth (the truth of all men being indwelt and corrupted by sin) that Jesus announces that He did not come for those who deny this self-evident truth.


And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).


          Verse 12 explains this universal inexcusability.  Whether one is raised with a Bible in their hand (or more likely in the case of the first century Jew—hearing it read in the synagogue) or with no written code whatsoever, there is not a man who does not sin and there is no man who is truly seeking the God against whom he sins.          

          The entire human race would shake their collective fist against their Maker—against the only source of truth and wisdom.  There is no person pining away for a God who, in His celestial indifference, is somehow ignoring his plea for holiness—no bushman, no mountain priest.  If we learn anything from the opening chapters of Romans, it is the desperate case of all humanity.


(for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified (Romans 2:13).


Who Will Be Justified?


          It is here that the passage gets trickier—especially if we agree with the definition of “just” and “justified,” given by so many fine teachers, of a forensic declaration of acquittal:


To be just before God, and to be justified, are the same thing.  They are both forensic expressions, and indicate the state rather than the character of those to whom they refer.[1] 


I should also point out that both δίκαιοι (dikaioi, righteous) and δικαιωθήσονται (dikaiōthēsontai, shall be declared righteous) are forensic in this verse. [2]  (‘Righteous’ and ‘declared righteous’ being “just” and “justified”.


          In other words “just” does not tell us about the character of the person but about the verdict of the Judge.  We discussed this last week so I’ll not spend a great deal of time here.  If you recall we observed two types of people in the previous passage—those who did good and those who obey unrighteousness. 

Having eliminated untenable explanations, we concluded that Paul was either (in his description of the righteous person) merely giving a hypothetical (not entirely unlike my friend’s righteous hermit/guru—although without the false assumptions), or Paul was teaching of the evidence of righteous deeds that necessarily accompany (at some level) the truly faithful.   

          What must be rejected is the idea that men merit acquittal from the searching eyes of a Holy God who “will judge the secrets of men” by virtue of their law-keeping; or, as Calvin explains:


That if righteousness be sought from the law, the law must be fulfilled; for the righteousness of the law consists in the perfection of works.” They who pervert this passage for the purpose of building up justification by works, deserve most fully to be laughed at even by children.[3]


          Calvin may sound testy here, but we must understand that he lived in an era when there was widespread ecclesiastical abuse of a doctrine that proclaimed salvation via personal piety, holiness and financial offerings—and many of those proclaiming that doctrine living lives devoid of any holiness whatsoever![4]

          Be that as it may, we should not understand Paul’s words here to be in conflict with his own words in the very next chapter, where he writes:


Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law (Romans 3:27, 28).


          Simply put, we are not acquitted by God by virtue of our works—that the worker is justified does not necessarily mean the work justifies him.  Paul continues:


for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel (Romans 2:14-16).


Natural Law?


          There is some debate as to who these gentiles are, “who do not have the law,” but “by nature do the things in the law” and somehow becoming a “law unto themselves.”  Some believe these are gentile Christians in the church; others believe Paul is writing about non-Jewish humanity in general.  There are good arguments for both.  But there are some conclusions people tend to draw from this passage that I think are unwarranted:

          For one, whether the gentiles are Christians or not, it would be a mistake to assume that this “law to themselves” creates a sufficient codification of ethical or moral conduct—as if man, because he is made in the image of God can, apart from the written revelation of God (the Bible), arrive at specific, accurate, godly, ethical conclusions and decisions.  At whatever level this thing called ‘natural law’ is derived from ‘general revelation’ and human nature (or the imago dei), it is, because of sin, very flawed. 

          One need merely look at the gentile Christian in the Scriptures to see how this method falters.  These people, according to Paul “show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them).    But when it came to eating meat sacrificed to idols, Paul writes that “their conscience, (was) being weak, (and) is defiled” (1 Corinthians 8:7—prenthesis mine).  In short, when it comes to ethics, our conscience, operating independently from Scripture, can be trusted only so far.

          I, therefore, think it is a mistake to draw the conclusion that natural man, apart from Christ and His law, can create industrious, lasting societies of mutual equity—even if motivated by some primal survival instinct.  If history has shown us anything, it has shown us that men, left to their own accord will eventually devour themselves and grow ripe for God’s holy judgment.  This is evidenced by so many eras recorded in Scripture, including Noah, Sodom and Moses’ prophetic anticipation of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt which would coincide with “the iniquity of the Amorites” reaching its “fullness” (Genesis 15:16).  We can delude ourselves into thinking that modern man, because of his appropriation of natural law, will not suffer the fate of the Amorites—but here we overestimate ourselves.

          So what is Paul’s point here?  What can we safely derive from this notion of the “works of the law written” on the hearts of man?”  It would appear that Paul is describing, in a very general and flawed sense, man’s knowledge of right and wrong.  As Calvin explains:


Nor can we conclude from this passage, that there is in men a full knowledge of the law, but that there are only some seeds of what is right implanted in their nature, evidenced by such acts as these [5]


Mere Externalism


          Again, what is Paul’s point in writing these words?

          Perhaps Paul is writing of the hypothetical natural man who does good unto justification—a simple laying down of the rules of God’s just judgments.  But as a pastor who had concern for the souls under his care, it appears he noticed something else in that church that needed to addressed.  T. R. Schreiner observes:


It is crucial to understand that Paul’s aim is to show the Jews that possession of the law is not inherently salvific and constitutes no advantage over the Gentiles.[6]


          As a young Christian, full of enthusiasm and perhaps too large a dose of anti-establishmentarianism, I remember being very committed to churches which emphasized a personal/individual faith in Christ—perhaps to the exclusion of the necessary corporate relationship we are called to have as the body of Christ. 

          Nonetheless Paul (especially in the next section—verses 17-29) will sound out those who have all the outward accoutrements of religion but appear to function with uncircumcised hearts.  It might be easy here to pick on Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox, in their high liturgies which, it would appear at some level, encourage this kind of externalism; as if their peace with God is found in their church membership and its many rituals. 

But we (especially as we have become a second and third generation church) should not think ourselves immune to this.  We have membership vows, sacraments, sermons and Bibles—but do we have hearts of faith toward Christ and love toward God and our neighbor?  Do we think our religion is covered by that which is merely external—things others can see?  Later in this chapter Paul will seek to dismantle the notion of seeking comfort in the external:


For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God (Romans 2:28, 29).


Given Much—Good or Bad?


Being a member in good standing of a Christian church is not inherently salvific.  It is a sign that we have been given much by God—which can be a good or bad thing:


And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12:47, 48).


In light of these things, I can understand the little debate over the portion of our church service where sinners are pardoned by virtue of their confession of sin and faith in Christ.  Some think it is just too easy—telling people their sins are forgiven.  Others don’t like the word often used during the pardon, saying that we should have faith in “sincerity” thus adding the burden of some level of sincerity. 

This tension seems unavoidable.  One need merely observe Jesus when a woman, who was described merely as a sinner fell at His feet and wept—and how she received the wonderful pardon “Your sins are forgiven…Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:48, 50).  Jesus could have said what He said elsewhere:  “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20).  He could have said what He said to the rich young ruler: “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21). 

Jesus says all these things within the boundaries of the gospel—He wasn’t offering conflicting messages.  But He knew the heart of the woman; He knew the heart of the Pharisees and of the rich young ruler.  We, of course do not know the heart of others.  Now perhaps Paul in all of this is merely writing of a hypothetical person.  Or perhaps he is seeking to put his readers to the test—that they might consider whether or not they, by faith in Christ, have circumcised hearts—and therefore seek to do the things of the law—not in an effort to merit justification before God—but as the necessary fruit of saving faith. 


Secret Things


Let us take to heart that it is not the outward things that Paul writes of on the Day of Judgment, but the “secret things.”  Schreiner writes:


The accusing and defending work of the conscience in the present will reach its consummation, full validity, and clarification on the day of judgment, when God will judge the secrets of all[7]


          Paul writes elsewhere:


Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God (1 Corinthians 4:5).


          Calvin concludes:


When we hear this, let it come to our minds, that we are warned that if we wish to be really approved by our Judge, we must strive for sincerity of heart.[8]


          So it is neither works righteousness nor a level of sincerity which procures salvation—as Paul will later write: “It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33).  When Paul writes “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity” (Ephesians 6:24) he is not writing of a level as much as a type—not a quantity but a quality of love—it is a God-given incorruptible, unceasing and immortal love—though checkered with human failure, it is nonetheless a love which flows from a circumcised heart. 

Questions for Study


    1.          Discuss the idea of a perfectly righteous guru/hermit and if such a person would go to heaven apart from Christ (pages 2, 3).

    2.          How does verse 12 explain the universal inexcusability of man (page 3)?

    3.          What does “just” and/or “justified” mean?  How is one justified?  If the doers of the law are justified, does it follow that they are justified by the doing (pages 3-5)?

    4.          Define and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of “natural law” (pages 5, 6).

    5.          Compare, contrast and explain how external things relate to the issues of the heart (pages 6, 7).

    6.          What are the difficulties associated with the declaration of pardon for sinners (pages 8, 9)?

    7.          How should we respond to the knowledge that God will judge “the secret things?” (page 9)?





















[1] Charles Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. Page 54
[2] Schreiner, T. R. (1998). Vol. 6: Romans. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (119). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
[3] Calvin, J. (1998). Romans (electronic ed.). Calvin’s Commentaries (Ro 2:13). Albany, OR: Ages Software.
[4] The observation of Luther leading to the Reformation.
[5] Calvin, J. (1998). Romans (electronic ed.). Calvin’s Commentaries (Ro 2:15). Albany, OR: Ages Software.
[6] Schreiner, T. R. (1998). Vol. 6: Romans. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (118). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
[7] Schreiner, T. R. (1998). Vol. 6: Romans. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (125). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
[8] Calvin, J. (1998). Romans (electronic ed.). Calvin’s Commentaries (Ro 2:16). Albany, OR: Ages Software.