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The Hundred-Seventy-Fourth (Romans Part 3)

As promised last week, this week we'll be taking a look at the next part of Romans where Paul turns his attention back to the believers he's writing to.  Last week, we read that Paul described the worldly non-believers and how they became what they are.  He said they have no excuse not to follow YHWH or believe in Him and worship Him because the evidence of His power, existence and magnificence is all throughout His creation.

Once Paul got through that description and explanation, he brought his focus back to the believers (Romans 2:1-11).  It's almost as if he was having a conversation with them face to face and saw the pride that was developing as he was talking about the non-believers and their wicked ways.  You can just imagine, and even perhaps have experienced first hand, the way people get when they start thinking they're better than others.  

Paul looks to knock them down a peg, so to speak.  He reminds them that they shouldn't be passing judgment on those who do all those worldly things, because they are guilty of the same things.  This lines up with other verses in the New Testament that talk about being guilty of breaking one means you've broken all of them (James 2:10).  Just because the believer didn't murder or slander doesn't mean they didn't break a different law.

You may ask yourself, how do we know he's not still talking about the worldly people?  He may have just shifted his point of view when writing about them.  Perhaps he's trying to say the worldly people shouldn't judge themselves since they're all committing the same sinful acts.  While that would be a bit odd, it's not unheard of.  However, as you read on, it becomes clear that he is, in fact, talking about the believers rather than the unbelievers.  

For instance, a few verses later when he is again referring to non-believers, he calls them "they" (verse 14).  He also talks about things believers would know when he uses the word "you."  Things like God's kindness and the fact that His judgment is based on truth (verses 4 and 2).

When writing these things, Paul says something very interesting in verse 4.  He states that YHWH's kindness leads us to repentance.  His kindness, tolerance and patience are the things that turn us back to Him.  Remember, repentance in Greek is metanoia, which means a changing of ones mind. In Hebrew, it's teshuvah, which comes from the root word shuv, that means return, as in a return to YHWH.

Have you ever done something you knew was wrong?  I'm sure you have, because at some point in our lives, everyone has.  Whether you know it in the moment, and still continue to do it because of the emotions involved, or whether you look back on it afterwards and realize it, we have all done something we know is wrong.  When we do that to someone else and that person is still kind to us and has tolerance and patience with us, doesn't that make you feel even worse about what you did?  Eventually, if we have any conscience or heart in us, we end up going to that person and apologizing for what we did, asking them for forgiveness.

It's the same with our relationship with YHWH.  When we do something sinful, knowing it's sinful, and realize at some point that even though we did that He still loves us and continues to take care of us, we repent and ask for forgiveness from Him as well.  It would be nice if we never did it in the first place, but sometimes we let our emotions get the best of us or we lose sight of Him as we get distracted and influenced by the world.  

Paul goes on to remind the believers of Rome that unrepentant hearts lead to receiving YHWH's wrath.  He quotes the Old Testament again, this time the book of Psalms, to ensure they understand that whatever deeds we perform in this world, we will be repaid for, good or bad.  Doing good will result in eternal life (verse 7), but self-seeking, rejecting truth and following wickedness will result in YHWH's wrath and anger (verse 8).  YHWH will have patience and tolerance as we stumble and fall, but if we fail to realize our mistakes and don't turn back to Him, His judgment will be an unpleasant one for us.

Paul finishes this thought to state that it doesn't matter if you're a Jew or not, YHWH has no favorites when it comes to His judgment on those who do evil.  He was writing to a group of believers that were comprised of those with a wide range of backgrounds, as we identified in Part 1 of our study.  There were those that came from Jewish backgrounds as well as those of pagan backgrounds.  Paul wanted them to get rid of any thoughts that either of those types of people had any advantage over the other when it came to YHWH's judgment.  

Yes, there are many scriptures pointing to Israel as YHWH's chosen people, but we must remember that with Yeshua's death we are all eligible for the same "chosen" status that Israel had.  Paul wanted to make sure the believers in Rome realized that.  We also must remember that we are no better or worse than anyone in the world, any unbeliever.  Yeshua certainly didn't feel or act that way as He ate with some of the most worldly people of His time!  And regardless of how others treat us, we should strive to be just like YHWH in our patience, kindness and tolerance.  

Shabbat shalom and YHWH bless you! 

-Rob and Sara Gene

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