Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
There is a wonderful verse in 1 John that goes like this: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (4:10). If you want to know what true, Biblical love looks like, then look to the cross. God – because of his free grace and kindness – sent his Son to die for us. And who – or what – were we? The unlovely! In other words, God sent the ‘loveliest’ person of all (his Son) to die for the most unlovely! May we meditate on the love and grace of God in Christ this day and this week.
A few dates to keep in mind:
* Sunday, Sep 1: this Sunday we will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper, collecting the deacon’s offering, and enjoying a fellowship meal following worship.
*Saturday, Sep 7: men’s breakfast at 9:00am. Location TBD.
*Saturday, Sep 14: ladies’ ‘mugs & muffins’ at 10:00am at Prem and Annie’s home.
*Friday, Sep 27th: Houston Reformed Theology Conference with Dr. David Murray. Register here: www.csopc.org/conference.
Today’s devotional is a reflection on the unpopular, but ever-important issue of final judgment from Romans.
Please let me know if you have any questions about anything going on in the life of CSOPC.
From the Pastor’s Desk
Romans 2:2, “We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.”
Judgment in not a popular topic in today’s world. Both the broader secular culture and the church tend to steer clear of the idea of judgment. The last thing one wants to be accused of today is being judgmental. The Bible, however, has much to say about judgment – and in particular the final judgment. The Scripture is unequivocal that a day is coming when the Lord will judge all people; or as the Apostle Paul puts it, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor 5:10; also see Matt 25:31-46; John 5:27-29).
What will this judgment be like? Is there anything we can say about it? In fact there is much we can say about it. In Romans 2:1-5 we are given three characteristics of the final judgment. First, the final judgment is universal (v. 1). It is generally agreed that Rom 1:18-32 deals primarily with the unbelieving pagan – that is, the openly immoral sinner. And one can imagine a pious Jew sitting in the corner as these verses are being read and thinking to himself, “Preach it, brother Paul. Those immoral Gentiles deserve God’s judgment.” But then in Romans 2, Paul turns to this pious, church-going Jew, “Not so fast, Mr. Moralist, apart from Christ your heart is just as dark and sinful as the pagan Gentile.” Paul puts it this way in v. 1, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” In other words, we will all stand before the bar of God’s justice – both the Gentile and the Jew, both the pagan and the moralist, both the openly immoral and church-going moralist!
Second, God’s judgment is according to truth. Paul says this in v. 2, “We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.” Paul is saying that God’s judgment is right, or more literally, ‘according to truth.’ That is to say, the standard of God’s judgment is truth – the truth – the truth of God’s word. God does not grade on a curve. He does not – indeed he cannot – bend the standard of truth. We all must stand before the judgment seat of Christ; and the standard against which we stand is the unyielding truth of God (cf. Ps 96:13; 111:7; Deut 32:4). And that standard of God’s truth call us to love him perfectly every moment of every day of every month of our lives. Oh how short we fall!! Oh how we need a Savior!!
Third, God’s judgment is inescapable (vv. 3-4). Verse 3, “Do you suppose, O man … that you will escape the judgment of God.” The implied response is that no one will escape the judgment of God! There will be no place to hide! There will be no cover from his all-seeing eye (Prov 15:3; Heb 4:13).
We might ask the question, “Why does Paul go to such great lengths in expounding the judgment of God. This seems a bit harsh.” The reason is simple – if we do not realize the extremity of our situation before God, then we will not grasp the wonder of His grace. If we do not appreciate the gravity of the bad news, we will not appreciate the grandeur of the good news. Paul’s goal is that “every mouth might be stopped” (Rom 3:19). The only safe haven before the holy God of the universe is the spotless lamb. Only in Christ – clothed with his perfect righteousness – can we stand before the Lord! The only way we can stand before God’s judgment is to confess that we rightly deserved his judgment; and thus flee and cling to the Savior who took that judgment upon himself! “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of god is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:23).
I am looking forward to worshipping together this Lord’s Day!