But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:For there is no respect of persons with God Romans 2:8-11
Romans is the teaching about Righteousness. It answers the question, how can sinners be made ‘right with God’? And in the flow of the discussion about Righteousness, Paul succinctly describes the righteous man , in God’s sight.
The Righteous man is not merely known by his external habits and practices, but by his values, and motivation. The truly righteous man is continually seeking Glory, and Honor and immortality , all from God himself.
Paul also succinctly describes the damned in this amazing passage. How does God see those who are headed to judgment and wrath? Again a three-fold description;
To those who are contentious…
The damned of God are marked by him as being contentious. They want their own way, therefore they continuously take sides against God. They stand on the side of those who oppose the Bible, questioning its legitimacy, relevance ,and validity.
A contentious man’s opinion is the only one that counts, therefore he discounts scripture whenever it contradicts him. Like Cain, a contentious man is not afraid to argue with God, to sit in judgment on Him, or to openly mock Him.
Often their argument with God is expressed in open or veiled opposition to Christians. They criticize the church, christians, the Bible, any godly initiative such as pro-life, or anti-homosexuality.
The contentious show their independence by almost always siding with the world against Christ and His church. When a clear denunciation of sin is called for, count on many even within the professing church to take their stand with the world and it’s fallen wisdom, denying Christ.
A clear example of this was demonstrated recently on the Larry King television show. A “gospel” recording artist was revealing to the whole world that she was a lesbian as well as a christian, and calling for , in fact demanding ‘tolerance’.
Larry had two guests on, One who had been exposed as a homosexual drug addict, while serving as head of the National Association of Evangelicals. The other was a solid, orthodox Calvary Chapel pastor.
With compassion and truth the Calvary Chapel pastor sought to counter the fallacy that one can be both a christian minister and an open homosexual. But both the lesbian singer and the other pastor, were contentious, interrupting, baiting and contradicting the pastor who sought to witness to God’s truth.
They don’t obey the Truth…
The Damned simply will not obey the Truth. They may hear it for a while but they will not succumb to it, they won’t admit to truth, they won’t humble themselves to it, they won’t allow the implications of Truth to touch them.
They always seek ‘other ways’, new and better ways of living , than the Old paths. After all, they know better than those poor naive christians. Supposedly, we moderns have more insight into human nature than Jesus and the apostles. They didn’t have the ‘advantages’ of modern psychology!
The only way to obey the truth, is by acknowledging its evaluation of you (You are a sinner under just judgment), and that God’s answer to your condemnation, is Jesus Christ and him crucified,who died as the propitiation for our sins. Repentance, Faith and following Jesus as Lord and Saviour.This the Damned will have nothing to do with!
But they obey unrighteousness…
Furthermore though they won’t obey God’s truth, they are utterly obedient to the manifold expressions of unrighteousness. A man in a hospital, who had had a heart attack, would not listen to the gospel or pray with me. But as soon as another visitor came into the room he made an obscene comment about the nurse!
I pondered this, it seemed almost as though He had to do that . Sin manifests itself in repetitious patterns, responses made countless times until they become shackles of slavery. They obey unrighteousness!
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others (Ephesians 2:1-3)
We have all been there, walking out a ‘course’, filled with a fallen ‘spirit of disobedience’ to God, but never overlooking a fad, always serving different passions, parroting the latest conventional wisdom, basically in bondage, as slaves of sin, and liable to wrath.
But it doesn’t have to be this way, there is an answer to those who are laboring under this slavery, and longing for something better; salvation, incorruptibility, forgiveness and communion with God, we close with the words of the Lord Jesus…
… Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.(John 8:34-36)