Let's jump right back in as we go deeper into the passage we looked at yesterday.
2:5 "But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds": 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness--indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek."
I want to put a magnifying glass on this section today. So far whether we've specifically said it or not Paul has been talking about two kinds of people but only speaking to one group. It may be important here to point out that Romans like the rest of the Bible is written to those "on the inside". People who don't at least claim to believe in God are unlikely to ever read it so it clearly wasn't written to them.
The two groups Paul is speaking about are those "in the world" as church folk often call them. These are they who don't believe in God and simply live life as they choose. The general term for this group back then was gentiles or Greeks. The other group Paul is speaking about and the group he is speaking to is the church. He refers to them sometimes as saints or believers or calls them Jews.
As we have been discussing for the past couple of days Paul has an issue with the believers. He finds them very judgmental. He finds them looking down their noses at the "evil" Greeks who do "unspeakable things".
When you read Matthew, Mark, and Luke you discover leprosy was a common disease. When you do some research you discover it was not just a disease and a death sentence but it was a cutting off from society. When a person discovered they were infected they had to leave everyone and everything and live apart from society with the other lepers. If for some reason they had to mix with the uninfected they had to walk crying "unclean, unclean" so no one would touch them.
Now I'm going to rewrite the verses I quoted at the beginning and you'll see how this all fits.
5 But in agreement with your hard and your unfeeling heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who "will give to each one according to his deeds": 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good (for others) seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth (love is the truth), but obey unrighteousness (only thinking about themselves)--indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil (lives in opposition to love), of the Jew first and also of the Greek;
Here is the tragedy of much of religion: Those who thought themselves healthy disposed of the lepers as unclean and hopeless and waiting for death. They cut them off from society so as not to be infected by them. Then Jesus came along. He touched them in their unclean state. Jesus did other unthinkable things too. He sat down and ate with prostitutes and tax collectors and sinners of all stripes; The Clean with the unclean. How did He treat them? Perhaps He ate with them to make sure they knew how vile they were? I think not.
"No matter how weak the sinner may be; no matter how many or how great may have been his transgressions, the Saviour will accept him. Christ loves every member of the human race; for he has bought them all with a price;—and what a price!" RH Sept 3, 1903
Contrast that quote with this one:
"What have we done that even from within our own walls there is no room for the broken?" From Love Is An Orientation
Having grown up in church I hate to say this but religion can be an extremely selfish endeavour. It can take people into a mindset where their goal is heaven and if they have to cut the "sinners" loose to keep from being tainted so be it. The pursuit of heaven and "perfection" becomes all consuming. The plight of others becomes a secondary concern if a concern at all. It becomes a sick selfish race in which the only participant that matters is me. In essence survival of the fittest. How ironic. Religion ends up being a course plotted out by demons.
Paul is exposing the religious for what they too often are: self obsessed love killers. He is not doing it out of hate though. He has a purpose motivated by love.
See you tomorrow.