Romans 2: 12-16

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Bro Tony, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. Bro Tony

    Bro Tony
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    How does Romans 2: 12-16, particularly verse 14 relate to the calvinistic view of total depravity?

    How can anyone who is totally depraved do "by nature" the things in the law?

    Any thoughts? From both camps.

    Bro Tony
     
  2. Skandelon

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    He is talking about how Gentiles know its wrong to lie, cheat and steal eventhough they didn't recieve the law as did the Jews. This is because of man's God-given conscience.

    Paul is attempting to show that both Jews and Gentiles fall short of God's glory in fulfilling the works he requires and both are in need of a savior. No one is righteous, not even one according to their own works therefore the righteousness we seek we can only find through faith in Christ, which is what Paul goes on to teach. Righteousness is not by favor through works but is by grace through faith.
     
  3. npetreley

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    Most of Romans is comprised of one very LONG argument. It's really impossible to take Romans 2 out of the context of that argument and understand it in isolation, IMO.
     
  4. Bro Tony

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    npetreley,

    I think I know what you are saying. But isn't Paul saying that man knows good and evil without being regenerated? If not what is he saying?

    Bro Tony
     
  5. BrotherJoe

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    Brother Tony,

    Hello and good day.

    YOU SAID (BROTHER TONY): How does Romans 2: 12-16, particularly verse 14 relate to the calvinistic view of total depravity?

    How can anyone who is totally depraved do "by nature" the things in the law?


    ME (BROTHER JOE): Firstly, we must conclude that Romans 2 has to be talking about gentiles that already HAVE been regenerated. Why? Because Paul concludes the chapter by stating of the gentiles that he was talking about earlier in that chapter,
    "26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
    27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?
    28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
    *************29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."*********(Romans 2:26-29)

    Further, not only have these gentiles been regenerated, but I will go further and assert that this chapter teaches that these regenerated gentiles have never yet heard the written word of the gospel! Why do I say this shocking statement?Simple, let us again look at the chapter:

    "11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
    12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
    13 (FOR NOT THE HEARERS OF THE LAW are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
    ***************14 For when the Gentiles, WHICH HAVE NOT THE LAW, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, HAVING NOT THE LAW, are a law unto themselves:*************
    15 Which shew the work of the LAW WRITTEN IN THEIR HEARTS, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)" (Romans 2:11-15)

    These gentiles while not possessing the written word or law of God, HAVE the law of God written in their heart as a result of having been regenerated by the sovereign grace work of the Holy Spirit. They not only have it, they keep it that passage states! This chapter may go along with another passage in my opinion,

    "10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; *********I WILL PUT MY LAW INTO THEIR MINDS, AND WRITE THEM IN THEIR HEARTS: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
    ******11 AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERY MAN HIS NEIGHBOR, and every man his brother, SAYING,KNOW THE LORD: FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, from the least to the greatest." (Hebrews 8:10-11)

    NOTHING in the Romans 2 warrants one to conclude that these gentiles have not been regenerated children of God. If im wrong, I ask someone to show me the verse. The Holy Spirit has revealed himself to what the world would call "heathen" in this case and taken them and transformed them into HIS PEOPLE.

    Servant of the most HIGH GOD,

    Brother Joe

    [ July 08, 2004, 08:18 PM: Message edited by: BrotherJoe ]
     
  6. Bro Tony

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    Bro Joe,

    Thanks for the input. Thanks for putting the context that in this case gentile does not refer to the lost, but to the non-Jew believers.

    Bro Tony
     
  7. npetreley

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    Excellent explanation, Brother Joe, especially the attention to "Which shew the work of the LAW WRITTEN IN THEIR HEARTS". I thought it would have been impossible to deal with chapter 2 without the larger context, but you proved me wrong!
     
  8. Skandelon

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    I don't agree with your interpretation of chapter 2. I believe Paul is referring to all Gentiles, not merely those who have been regenerated.

    Notice that it states that the law written on their heart will accuse some and defend others or it will excuse some and accuse others. It excuses those who live by it and it accuses those who don't--the regenerate and the unregenerate.

    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)

    What other scholars hold to your interpretation, I can't find one. Thanks
     
  9. BobRyan

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    It is "a nature" that has been drawn by the Holy Spirit as we see in John 3 and 12. The argument in Romans 2 is that WITHOUT the word of God - without the scriptures - STILL this work of the Holy Spirit is manifest.

    Notice it says "DO instinctively the things of the law". No totally depraved person DOES the things of the Law. Obedience to the Word of God is not part of their makeup. Rather rebellion is the norm for the depraved.

    That is why the end of Romans 2 makes the point about circumcision being OF THE HEART by the Holy Spirit.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  10. John Gilmore

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    Natural man is motivated by fear of punishment or hope for reward. He has been deluded by Satan into thinking that he will escape God's punishment and receive eternal rewards because, in a few inconsequential matters, he obeys the natural law written in his heart.

    As long as man is unregenerate, he remains under the curse of the law. Any works he does, whether under the law of Moses or the natural law, have been extorted by threats of punishment or hope for rewards. Until he has been liberated by Christ, he remains a slave of Satan and the law.
     
  11. Stratiotes

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    I think Joe may be right that it is not referring to the lost but I don't know that it does not apply at the same time.

    All of us, from the time we are children, have at least the golden rule written on our hearts. We do not hit other kids because we do not want to be hit back for instance. We know it is wrong to steal because we do not want to be stolen from. We know what it feels like to be wronged and our hearts want justice. We have that image of God stamped in us but it has been marred by our sin nature. We demand justice because the image of God in us is of a just God - but, our demand for justice is not a Godly one - we want justice for *me* not for God. We know the law but we only obey it insofar as we can gain selfishly from doing so.

    Dr. Cornelius Van Til wrote and spoke a lot on this subject. If you get the chance, look up some of his works - many are online.
    http://www.vantil.info/
    http://www.reformed.org/apologetics/why_I_believe_cvt.html

    Another good one for this subject was one of Van Til's students, Dr. Greg Bahnsen. His book, _Always Ready_ is a very good primer on witnessing written at a very basic level. He also wrote a lot of scholarly works that could keep you busy for a long time.
    http://mywebpages.comcast.net/webpages54/ap/biobahn.html
    http://www.cmfnow.com/subcat.asp?0=207

    The bottom line is this, as Van Til and Bahnsen argued, the lost person knows God in his heart but is self-deluded (or, as the modern psychology types say, he is in denial). He cannot help but escape God in the fact that God is his creator and has stamped his image in his heart. But, his sin nature does not want to take the yoke of God's authority as his creator. He therefore knows to do good but his self-delusion and selfishness make it impossible to please God even when he does those things. Self is his god. And, even after we are regenerated, we struggle with giving up that previous god. That is why it is Christ's righteousness that saves us (is imputed to us) - a foreign righteousness and not our own. Without his intervention we may do what is written in the law and in so doing demonstrate that we know God but it will never please God.

    [ July 14, 2004, 07:45 AM: Message edited by: Stratiotes ]
     
  12. Me2

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    Brother Joe hit the nail squarely on the head.

    these spoken of are reprobate followers who have received the law in their hearts, yet are denying its power and consequence.

    this is the truth that they are transforming into a lie. This is the reason they are being called lawless and lacking understanding.

    although they have received the law. they havent received the spirit of Jesus Christ within them.

    the purpose of the law is to deliver them into death by their own recognition of ITS TRUTH.
    they dont recognize that they are indeed actually "sinners". (remember that soul that sins shall die. or the appointment for men to spiritually die and be judged.

    these guys are sentenced to spiritually die by God and the delivery system of the law. but the follower is denying its power against them.

    thus God traps them, in their state as they have judged themselves to be in. in this unrighteous state of HELL..OR DEATH, OR THE SEA. the 3 locations where those held in unrighteousness are TEMPORARILY in.

    Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

    again these spoken of are followers chosen to be vessels of wrath. they contain the law within themselves yet they deny it power of killing their old carnal spirit and delivering them into death to to be judged.

    Me2
     

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