by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam
The second chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is a dark, sad passage, but it opens the door to the richest blessing the human heart can contain: salvation by grace.
The opening words: “Therefore thou art inexcusable,” are blunt indeed, but God exposes our sinful condition only so as to save us from it.
This is where most philosophies and the Bible clash head-on. Most philosophies close their eyes to the sinful nature of man. They argue, generally, that man is inherently good, while overwhelming evidence bears witness that he is inherently bad. Therefore human philosophy offers no salvation from sin and its just penalty. Only the Bible does this with its “gospel [good news] of the grace of God.”
In Paul’s day the Greek philosophers condemned the uncivilized pagans for their open immorality and wickedness. But while preaching virtue these moralizers themselves practiced vice, and God said:
“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” (Rom. 2:1).
It is the same today. Multitudes of self-righteous people are outwardly cultured and moral, but they forget that God looks upon the heart and sees hate as murder, jealousy as theft and the lustful look as adultery. He considers, not what we do, outwardly, but what we desire to do or wish we dared to do. He sees the desires and motives of the heart.
But thank God, “Christ died for sinners” — guilty sinners, and all who come to God by faith in Christ are “justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).
“Inexcusable,” or “justified freely by His grace,” through faith in the Christ who died for our sins? Which will it be?